Event frequency, excitement and desire to gamble, among pathological gamblers

Abstract

In this study we compared gambling behaviour of 15 pathological gamblers {(PG)} and 15 non-problem gamblers {(NPG)} on two conditions of a commercially available slot machine. One condition used a commercially available two-second event frequency (games per minute), while the other condition used an experimental three-second event frequency. The payback percentage (wins relative to losses) and reward frequency (wins over number of games played) varied randomly across conditions. The results showed that {PG} had significantly higher measures than {NPG} on time spent gambling, excitement level and desire to play again in the two-second condition. In the three-second condition there were no differences in excitement level and desire to play again. The number of {PG} playing the maximum time (60 minutes) was reduced in the three-second version, and reward frequency contributed to reduction in time spent gambling. The results may have implications for understanding behavioural mechanisms of pathological gambling among slot machine players. In this study we compared gambling behaviour of 15 pathological gamblers {(PG)} and 15 non-problem gamblers {(NPG)} on two conditions of a commercially available slot machine. One condition used a commercially available two-second event frequency (games per minute), while the other condition used an experimental three-second event frequency. The payback percentage (wins relative to losses) and reward frequency (wins over number of games played) varied randomly across conditions. The results showed that {PG} had significantly higher measures than {NPG} on time spent gambling, excitement level and desire to play again in the two-second condition. In the three-second condition there were no differences in excitement level and desire to play again. The number of {PG} playing the maximum time (60 minutes) was reduced in the three-second version, and reward frequency contributed to reduction in time spent gambling. The results may have implications for understanding behavioural mechanisms of pathological gambling among slot machine players.

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