Rise of the Machines: A Critical Review on the Behavioural Effects of Automating Traditional Gambling Games

By Tess Armstrong, Matthew Rockloff, Nancy Greer, Phillip Donaldson

Automated gambling products are now a common feature on many casino floors. Despite their increasing prevalence, little research has considered the impact of converting games traditionally free from technological enhancements to automated versions. This review seeks to illustrate how automation is likely to change the way people engage and experience traditional games based around five prominent modifications: visual and auditory enhancements; illusions of control; cognitive complexity; expedited play; and social customisation. Otherwise known as the “VICES” framework. The inclusion of rich graphics, event-dependent sound and game-play information such as statistics, history, betting options and strategic betting are likely to prolong and entice gambling while encouraging more intense betting. Changes to the social environment due to the asocial nature of automated products is also likely to significantly change the gambling experience. Given the increasing prevalence of these products in the marketplace, it is important to consider the implications of converting traditional products to automated form as technological enhancements have the potential to allow for faster, more intense betting. More research is needed to determine the full impact of automation on player behaviours in order to understand the potential risks associated with technological enhancements to traditional games.

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