Electronic gambling machines (EGMs) are known to be a particularly risky form of gambling (Petry. Addiction 98(5):645–655, 2003). It is vital that researchers and clinicians are aware of factors which could lead to people having problems with this form. Gambling motivation is one such factor. This study developed a measure of EGM gambling motivations based on the results of qualitative research conducted with EGM problem gamblers and experienced counsellors (Thomas et al. Int J Mental Health Addiction 7:97–107, 2009). A community based sample of 232 females (M = 29.60 years of age, SD = 15.41 years) and 123 males (M = 29.64 years of age, SD = 12.29 years) participated. Exploratory factor analysis extracted three motivational factors indicating people gambled on EGMs to escape, for its accessibility and for the social environment. Gambling to escape and for its accessibility had substantial positive correlations with frequency of EGM gambling and gambling problems. Social environment correlated less well with these indicators of excessive gambling. Correlations between factors suggested the accessible, social experience offered by EGM venues increases their appeal as a means of escape. The new subscales were internally consistent and demonstrated good evidence of validity. This new measure will facilitate future investigations into the relationships between gambling motivations, other aetiological factors and EGM problem gambling.