Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 571–581 | Cite as

Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal

  • Matthew J. RockloffEmail author
  • Nancy Greer
Original Paper


Tourists at the Koorana Saltwater Crocodile Farm in Coowonga, Queensland, Australia, including 62 males and 41 females, aged 18–66 (M = 34.2, SD = 13.3), were randomly assigned to play a laptop-simulated Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) either: (1) prior to entry, or (2) after having held a 1-m saltwater-crocodile. Gambling behavior; including bet-size, speed of betting, final payouts and trials played on the EGM; was investigated with respect to participants’ assigned arousal condition, problem-gambling status, and affective state. At-risk gamblers with few self-reported negative emotions placed higher average bets at the EGM after having held the crocodile when compared to the control. In contrast, at-risk gamblers with many self-reported negative emotions placed lower average bets at the EGM after having held the crocodile. The results suggest that high arousal can intensify gambling in at-risk players, but only if this feeling state is not perceived as a negative emotion.


Gambling Pathological gambling Physiological arousal Sensation seeking Affect Poker Fruit Slot 



This research was supported by a grant from the Queensland Treasury Department, Australia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Health and Social Science ResearchCQUniversityBundabergAustralia

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