The house advantage: Trade secret protections on the casino floor [open access article]

Johnson, K. (2018). UNLV Gaming Law Journal.

As long as there have been slot machines, there have been slot cheats. From the early days of slugs and shaving, to today’s more sophisticated cheaters who target a machine’s programing, cheating technology has developed in lock step with gaming technology. As a result, gaming operators and regulators are rarely surprised by what occurs within their casinos. However, occasionally a malicious act is so unexpected that it causes the entire industry to react. Generally speaking, these surprises are typically new techniques or devices that beat the machine. In July of 2013, it was who beat the machine. Full article


The Relationship Between Exclusions from Gambling Arcades and Accessibility: Evidence from a Newly Introduced Exclusion Program in Hesse, Germany [subscription access article]

Strohäker, T. & Becker, T. (2018). Journal of Gambling Studies:

Abstract: An exclusion system for gambling arcades has been introduced recently in the state of Hesse. The aim of this paper is to identify significant predictors that are useful in explaining the variation of exclusions between different Hessian communities. Next to socio-demographic factors, we control for three different accessibility variables in two models: the number of electronic gambling machines (EGMs) in model I, and the number of locations and density of gambling machines at a location in model II. We disentangle the association between EGMs and exclusions of model I into a location and a clustering effect. Considering the socio-demographic variables, the explanatory power of our cross-sectional models is rather low. Only the age group of the 30–39 years old and those who are not in a partnership (in model I) yield significant results. As self-exclusion systems reduce availability for the group of vulnerable players, this analysis provides evidence for the assumption that the two groups—pathological gamblers and vulnerable players—seem to have little overlap concerning sociodemographic characteristics. The accessibility variables, on the other hand, turn out to be significantly associated with the number of exclusions. All three of them are statistically significant and their association is positive. The results of model II show that the location effect is more pronounced then the clustering effect of EGMs, i.e. the effect of an additional single-licensed arcade on the number of exclusions is stronger than the increase in the number of license at one location. Article details and access options

From problem people to addictive products: a qualitative study on rethinking gambling policy from the perspective of lived experience [open access article]

Helen E. Miller, Samantha L. Thomas & Priscilla Robinson. (2018). From problem people to addictive products: a qualitative study on rethinking gambling policy from the perspective of lived experience. Harm Reduction Journal 15:16.

Previous research has shown that government and industry discussions of gambling may focus on personal responsibility for gambling harm. In Australia, these discussions have largely excluded people with lived experience of problem gambling, including those involved in peer support and advocacy.

We conducted 26 in-depth interviews with people with current or previous problem gambling on electronic gaming machines (EGMs) involved in peer support and advocacy activities, using an approach informed by Interpretive Policy Analysis and Constructivist Grounded Theory.

Participants perceived that government and industry discussed gambling as safe and entertaining with a focus on personal responsibility for problem gambling. This focus on personal responsibility was perceived to increase stigma associated with problem gambling. In contrast, they described gambling as risky, addictive and harmful, with problem gambling resulting from the design of EGMs. As a result of their different perspectives, participants proposed different interventions to reduce gambling harm, including reducing accessibility and making products safer.

Challenging the discourses used by governments and industry to describe gambling, using the lived experience of people with experience of gambling harm, may result in reduced stigma associated with problem gambling, and more effective public policy approaches to reducing harm. Read full article. 

Attitudes towards community gambling venues and support for regulatory reform: an online panel study of residents in New South Wales, Australia [open access article]

Amy Bestman, Samantha L. Thomas, Melanie Randle, Hannah Pitt & Mike Daube. (2018). Attitudes towards community gambling venues and support for regulatory reform: an online panel study of residents in New South Wales, Australia
Harm Reduction Journal 15:15.

Harmful gambling has been identified as an important public health issue that affects individuals, families and the broader community. One gambling product, electronic gambling machines (EGMs), has been associated with significant gambling harm in Australia. There has been limited research that has explored community perceptions of EGMs and attitudes towards reform. This study, conducted in NSW, Australia, aimed to explore community use of EGM venues (clubs and hotels containing EGMs), attitudes towards EGMs and whether the use of these venues influenced attitudes towards EGM reform.

An online survey was conducted with 500 adults aged 16 years and over, representative of the population for age and gender. Discrete choice and open-ended questions were used to gather data on gambling behaviours, use of and attitudes towards EGMs and EGM venues and support for gambling harm reduction measures.

Three quarters of participants had visited an EGM venue in the previous year. Participants who had attended such venues were significantly more likely to use EGMs at least once per month. Participants attended EGM venues for a range of reasons including use of non-gambling facilities such as restaurants, the social aspects of the venue and ease of access to the venue. Some participants also attended EGM venues specifically for the gambling facilities. Most participants identified some negative impacts of EGMs for local communities and were supportive of measures to reduce the number of EGMs and prevent children’s exposure to EGMs in such venues.

This study shows a high level of support for EGM reform amongst both individuals who attend EGM venues and also those who do not. There is potential for government to further regulate EGMs and the environments where they are located. Read full article.

EGM environments that contribute to excess consumption and harm

Interviews with recent EGM gamblers showed that the social aspect of gambling was important for many, reflecting their choice to gamble in a venue. This was also seen as more exciting than online gambling, due in part to being able to win physical money. In contrast, those who preferred online gambling liked the functionality of it and the ease of being able to gamble at home.

Survey results showed that for the average EGM gambler, the ‘ideal’ environment involves playing on a classic game, with friends, at a club near home, in a relatively quiet place, with a large space to play in, and with cheap food available. In comparison, people experiencing gambling problems tended to be less concerned about where they gamble and whether they socialise with others while gambling.

Source: Rockloff, M., Thorne, H., Goodwin, B., Moskovsky, N., Langham, E., Browne, M., … Rose, J. (2015). EGM environments that contribute to excess consumption and harm. Melbourne: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

Significant life events and social connectedness in Australian women’s gambling experiences

Full text available via direct link to PDF below.

AIM – The aim is to examine significant life events and social connections that encourage some women to gamble. Specifically, how do these events and connections described as important for women who develop gambling-related problems differ for women who remain recreational gamblers? DESIGN – 20 women who were electronic gaming machine (EGMs, poker machines, slots) players were interviewed using a brief interview guide. They also completed the nine question Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) from the Canadian Problem Gambling Index CPGI)…

Source: Nuske, E. M., Holdsworth, L., & Breen, H. (2015). Significant life events and social connectedness in Australian women’s gambling experiences. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 32, 5–6.

Jackpot Structural Features: Rollover Effect and Goal-Gradient Effect in EGM Gambling – Online First – Springer

En Li, Matthew J. Rockloff, Matthew Browne, Phillip Donaldson

Relatively little research has been undertaken on the influence of jackpot structural features on electronic gaming machine (EGM) gambling behavior. This study considered two common features of EGM jackpots: progressive (i.e., the jackpot incrementally growing in value as players make additional bets), and deterministic (i.e., a guaranteed jackpot after a fixed number of bets, which is determined in advance and at random). Their joint influences on player betting behavior and the moderating role of jackpot size were investigated in a crossed-design experiment…

via Jackpot Structural Features: Rollover Effect and Goal-Gradient Effect in EGM Gambling – Online First – Springer.