Examining Player Engagement with and Attitudes Toward a Gambling Play Management System

Abstract

Play management systems are prevention tools designed to help people who gamble avoid intemperate gambling outcomes by staying within predetermined budgets. This study examined gaming patrons’ reported use of and attitudes towards the PlayMyWay play management system. We report upon the results of a survey of 1951 Marquee Rewards cardholders, including 153 individuals who were currently or previously enrolled in PlayMyWay. Users who did not enroll in PlayMyWay, despite knowing about it, typically said they did so because they believed that they did not need reminders and warnings about gambling. Although PlayMyWay users generally found the system easy to use, most reported that they paid little attention to notifications and tended to react negatively to them. Users who screened positive on the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen were more likely to un-enroll from PlayMyWay, were less likely to report that they heeded notifications, and were more likely to respond negatively to notifications than users who screened negative. To improve the efficacy of PlayMyWay and similar play management systems, we recommend enhancing or adjusting on-machine messaging and highlighting additional features, such as play-tracking mechanisms, which could help to emphasize the idea that budget self-tracking is for everyone, not just people who might have gambling-related problems. Future research on play management systems should attempt to understand how to make budget compliance aspects of play management more effective.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A follow up report (Tom, Edson, Shaffer, Singh, & LaPlante, 2019) included an in-depth examination of MGC motives and goals for PlayMyWay, a technical report of data issues associated with the PlayMyWay system, and a patron survey, the latter of which provided the source data for the current study.

  2. 2.

    Steady users included users who did not un-enroll or change budgets within the same day of receiving a notification.

  3. 3.

    Full documentation for this survey can be found in Tom et al., 2019, "System Experiences and Gambling Behavior" Section.

  4. 4.

    Raw SUS scores are on a 0–40 range, but are multiplied by 2.5 to convert them to a 0–100 range.

  5. 5.

    This question specifically asked participants how often they had visited a Slots parlor/casino in Massachusetts in the past 12 months. At the time this survey was administered, however, PPC was the only licensed operating casino in Massachusetts.

  6. 6.

    41 participants did not answer one or more SUS items, precluding this calculation.

  7. 7.

    ∞ represents a value of infinite. Fisher’s exact tests of distributions with zero cell counts yield odds ratio values of infinite.

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Acknowledgements

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission supported the execution of the survey, as described in Tom, Edson, Shaffer, Singh, and LaPlante (2019), but did not support or contribute to the development of this manuscript. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission developed PlayMyWay in partnership with Scientific Games Corporation.

Funding

The Division on Addiction currently receives funding from the Addiction Treatment Center of New England via SAMHSA; The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR); the Gavin Foundation via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Entain plc (formerly GVC Holdings, PLC); The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations via the Indian Health Service with funds approved by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health; The Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Hong Kong; St. Francis House via the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Addiction Services; and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas via MGM Resorts International. During the past 5 years, the Division on Addiction has also received funding from Aarhus University Hospital with funds approved by The Danish Council for Independent Research; ABMRF—The Foundation for Alcohol Research; Caesars Enterprise Services, LLC; Cambridge Police Department with funds approved by the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention; the David H. Bor Library Fund, Cambridge Health Alliance; DraftKings; Fenway Community Health Center, Inc.; Heineken USA, Inc.; Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling; Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services; Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Commonwealth of Massachusetts; National Center for Responsible Gaming; University of Nevada, Las Vegas via MGM Resorts International; and Worcester House of Correction. During the past five years, Debi A. LaPlante has received speaker honoraria and travel support from the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. She has served as a paid grant reviewer for NCRG and received honoraria funds for preparation of a book chapter from Universite Laval. She is a non-paid board member of the New Hampshire Council on Problem Gambling.

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All authors contributed to the concept and design of this study and the writing of this manuscript. Drs. Edson and Tom contributed to the analyses, had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. All authors have approved the final article.

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Correspondence to Timothy C. Edson.

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Edson, T.C., Tom, M.A. & LaPlante, D.A. Examining Player Engagement with and Attitudes Toward a Gambling Play Management System. J Gambl Stud (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-021-10002-9

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Keywords

  • Play management
  • Pre-commitment
  • Gambling
  • Budget