Pushing the limits of increased casino advantage on slots: An examination of performance effects and customer reactions [subscription access article]

This field study examined performance data from reel slot games located in two casinos. The paired design incorporated games that appeared identical to the players but featured substantially different, yet concealed, pars (i.e., prices). The results revealed significantly elevated revenues for the high-par games, despite egregious price hikes, while also failing to provide compelling evidence of rational play migration to the low-par games. The latter result suggested that frequently visiting players were not able to detect differences in the pars of games, even over lengthy sample periods. These outcomes were produced by the greatest par gaps of any paired-design study. These expanded gaps also generated the greatest revenue gains within this research stream. Increasing pars may represent a rare opportunity for operators to increase revenues, without concern for eventual brand damage or loss of market share. Limitations regarding the current uses of reel pars are also revealed. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Lucas, A.F., & Spilde, K. (2020). Pushing the Limits of Increased Casino Advantage on Slots: An Examination of Performance Effects and Customer Reactions. Cornell Hospitality Quarterlyhttps://doi.org/10.1177/1938965520916436

Do EGMs have a stronger association with problem gambling than racing and casino table games? Evidence from a decade of Australian prevalence studies [subscription access article]

Although it is often assumed that electronic gaming machines (EGMs) are associated with the highest level of risk, it has proved difficult to find reliable evidence in support of this proposition. In this paper, we analysed statistics from major Australian community prevalence studies for the period 2011–2020 to investigate whether EGMs (in comparison to racing and casino table games) have a stronger association with problem gambling.

All prevalence studies reviewed used telephone sampling and the Problem Gambling Severity Index to assess problem gambling. In this paper, we examine the principal hypothesis using several lines of evidence, including whether problem gamblers are more likely to gamble and gamble regularly on EGMs as opposed to racing and casino games and if the EGM-problem gambling association was maintained after controlling for other forms of participation.

Results showed that of all gambling activities, EGMs do appear to have the strongest association with problem gambling. Despite having a disproportionately higher level of participation on racing and casino games as compared with other gamblers, problem gamblers are more likely to report regular or weekly participation in EGM gambling and this may be the reason why this activity emerges most strongly as a predictor of problem gambling in multivariate models. This finding is particularly salient, given the very high prevalence of EGM participation, compared to other risky gambling forms.

The findings underscore the importance of survey reporting that presents results in a form that can inform policy relevant research relating to the potential impact of different gambling activities. Article details and access options

Citation: Delfabbro, P., King, D.L., Browne, M. et al. Do EGMs have a Stronger Association with Problem Gambling than Racing and Casino Table Games? Evidence from a Decade of Australian Prevalence Studies. J Gambl Stud (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-020-09950-5:

‘Everyone knows grandma’. Pathways to gambling venues in regional Australia [subscription article]

In regional Australia, families (including children), attend community venues that contain gambling products, such as electronic gambling machines (EGMs), for a range of non-gambling reasons. However, there is a gap in research that seeks to understand how these venues may become embedded into family social practices. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and cultural capital, this paper aimed to explore factors that influence family decisions to attend venues and perceptions of risk associated with children’s exposure to gambling products. Face-to-face qualitative interviews were conducted with 31 parents who attended community gambling venues with their children, in New South Wales, Australia. Families attended venues for three key reasons, first because of the influence of others in their social networks, second for regular social activities and third because of structural factors such as a lack of alternative, affordable, family friendly environments in their local area. Despite recognizing the harm associated with EGMs, parents distanced themselves from EGM harm with all parents perceiving venues to be an appropriate space for families. Research in this study indicates that family social practices within venues affect perceptions of risk associated with community gambling venues. The impact of these practices on longer-term health requires more investigation by public health and health promotion researchers and practitioners. Health promotion initiatives should consider identifying alternative sources of support and/or developing alternative social spaces for families in regional communities that do not contain gambling products. Link to the article

Citation: Bestman, A., Thomas, S.L. Randle, M., Pitt, H., Cassidy, R., Daube, M. (2019). ‘Everyone knows grandma’. Pathways to gambling venues in regional Australia, Health Promotion International, , daz120, https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daz120

Isolating the impact of specific gambling activities and modes on problem gambling and psychological distress in internet gamblers [article]

Background: Gambling disorder is related to high overall gambling engagement; however specific activities and modalities are thought to have stronger relationships with gambling problems. This study aimed to isolate the relationship between specific gambling activities and modalities (Internet and venue/land-based) to gambling disorder and general psychological distress. Past-month Internet gamblers were the focus of this investigation because this modality may be associated with gambling disorders in a unique way that needs to be separated from overall gambling intensity.

Methods: Australians who had gambled online in the prior 30 days (N = 998, 57% male) were recruited through a market research company to complete an online survey measuring self-reported gambling participation, problem gambling severity, and psychological distress.

Results: When controlling for overall gambling frequency, problem gambling was significantly positively associated with the frequency of online and venue-based gambling using electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and venue-based sports betting. Psychological distress was uniquely associated with higher frequency of venue gambling using EGMs, sports betting, and casino card/table games.

Conclusions: This study advances our understanding of how specific gambling activities are associated with disordered gambling and psychological distress in users of Internet gambling services. Our results suggest that among Internet gamblers, online and land-based EGMs are strongly associated with gambling disorder severity. High overall gambling engagement is an important predictor of gambling-related harms, nonetheless, venue-based EGMs, sports betting and casinos warrant specific attention to address gambling-related harms and psychological distress among gamblers.
Link to the article

Citation: Gainsbury, S.M., Angus, D.J. & Blaszczynski, A. (2019). Isolating the impact of specific gambling activities and modes on problem gambling and psychological distress in internet gamblers. BMC Public Health, 19(1372). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7738-5

The geographic distribution of gaming machine proceeds in New Zealand [open-access article].

Abstract: Within NZ gambling and its associated harms are well-researched topics. However, most studies to date have relied upon the use of survey methodology or have focused on individual regions. In this paper we distribute gaming machine proceeds (GMP) from gaming venues to the surrounding localities in order to derive estimates of GMP per capita. It is hoped these estimates will enable the trusts who operate the electronic gaming machines (EGMs), and who are responsible for reinvesting a proportion of proceeds back into the community, to more accurately target funding towards the areas most affected by the harms of EGM gambling. Our estimates of GMP per capita also provide a means of assessing the criterion validity of the recently developed Dynamic Deprivation Index. Furthermore, although it is well known that Māori and Pacific Island populations have a higher incidence of problem gambling, our results imply that when controlling for socio-economic deprivation and the geographic location of EGMs the associations between ethnicity and GMP per capita are weak. From a policy perspective, this suggests the most effective way of limiting the harms of EGM gambling on these populations is to place tighter controls on the number of venues within their communities. Article available online

Citation: Adam D. Ward, Jack T. McIvor & Paul Bracewell. (2019). The geographic distribution of gaming machine proceeds in New Zealand. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, DOI: 10.1080/1177083X.2019.1640752

The impact of pop-up warning messages of losses on expenditure in a simulated game of online roulette: a pilot study [open-access article].

‘Pop-up’ warning messages have potential as a Responsible Gambling tool, but many warning messages in the literature are generic. The present study simulated digital roulette to compare the effectiveness of expenditure-specific, generic and control messages, during online roulette.

Forty-five casual gamblers participated in a laboratory setting. Gambles were ‘rigged’ such that participants suffered a net loss. Total ‘play money’ wagers from individual bets after the presentation of the messages were measured.

Expenditure-specific warning messages demonstrated significant reductions in wager amounts compared with other message types – Generic (p = .035) and Control messages (p < .001). No significant differences were found between Generic and Control messages (p > .05). Thus expenditure-specific warning messages about current losses were more effective than generic messages for reducing expenditure.

Expenditure-specific warning messages exhibit potential for ameliorating potentially harmful gambling behaviour. Expenditure-specific messages should be tested in a broader range of gambling contexts to examine their generalizability and potential for implementation in the gambling industry. Article available online

Reference: McGivern, P., et al. (2019). The impact of pop-up warning messages of losses on expenditure in a simulated game of online roulette: a pilot study. BMC Public Health 19:822. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7191-5

Evaluating changes in electronic gambling machine policy on user losses in an Australian jurisdiction [open-access article].

Background: Electronic gambling machines (EGMs) are in casinos and community venues (hotels and clubs) in all jurisdictions in Australia, except Western Australia (only in casino). EGMs have a range of features that can affect how people gamble, which can influence losses incurred by users. The Northern Territory Government recently changed two EGM policies – the introduction of note acceptors on EGMs in community venues, and an increase in the cap from 10 to 20 EGMs in hotels and 45 to 55 in clubs. This study evaluates two changes in EGM policy on user losses in community venues, and tracks changes in user losses per adult, EGM gambler, and EGM problem/moderate risk gambler between 2005 and 2015. Access online article

Reference: Stevens, M. & Livingstone, C. (2019). Evaluating changes in electronic gambling machine policy on user losses in an Australian jurisdiction. BMC Public Health, 19(517). Retrieved from https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-6814-1