Electronic Gaming Machine Characteristics: It’s the Little Things That Count
- 182 Downloads
A range of gamblers, from low-frequency social gamblers through to problem gamblers in treatment, participated in focus groups discussing the characteristics of Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) that they found attractive. Analyses of the resulting transcripts resulted in two groups of EGM characteristics being identified as important, one group associated with winning and one with betting. Overall, free spin features were identified in all groups as the most attractive characteristic of EGMS. Beyond that it was smaller win-related characteristics, and low-denomination machines with multiple playable lines that were associated with increased duration and intensity of gambling behaviour. The important characteristics were consistent across different levels of gamblers, with the key behavioural difference being a self-reported ‘expertise’, and ‘strategic’ approach to gambling amongst higher-frequency gamblers and problem gamblers in treatment. The key characteristics all occur frequently and result in more wins and extended gambling sessions. The patterns identified resonated with established behavioural principles, and with models describing the development of problem gambling and addictions more generally.
KeywordsGambling Problem gambling Electronic gaming machines Game characteristics Qualitative
The authors would like the participants for generously giving their time to share their experiences, the New Zealand Ministry of Health for funding this project, and Hapai te Hauora Problem Gambling Team, the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand, and Ruth Herd for their support.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Jason Landon, Katie Palmer du Preez, Alyssa Page, Maria Bellringer, Amanda Roberts and Max Abbott declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
This research was funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health under contract numbers 334040/00 and 01. The funder had no influence on the research design/conduct and there are no constraints on publishing the results.
- Davison, M., & McCarthy, D. (1988). The matching law: A research review. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Delbecq, A. L., Van de Ven, A. H., & Gustafson, D. H. (1975). Group techniques for program planning: A guide to Nominal Group and Delphi processes. Glenview: Scott, Foresman and Company.Google Scholar
- Delfabbro, P., Falzon, K., & Imgram, T. (2005). The effects of parameter variations in Electronic Gaming Machine simulations: results of a laboratory-based pilot investigation. Gambling Research Journal of the National Association for Gambling Studies (Australia), 17(1), 7–25.Google Scholar
- Livingstone, C., & Woolley, R. (2008). The relevance and role of gaming machine games and game features on the play of problem gamblers. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Primary Care.Google Scholar
- Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Walker, M. (1992). The psychology of gambling. London: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar