Structural characteristics of electronic gaming machines and satisfaction of play among recreational and problem gamblers

Abstract

This study evaluated the impact of three specific modifications to the structural design of electronic gaming machines proposed by the New South Wales Liquor Administration Board, on player satisfaction. These modifications: reduction in reel spin speed, maximum bet limited to A$1.00 and removal of high denomination bill acceptors; were recommended as putative harm minimisation strategies within a larger government responsible gaming policy framework. Participants were a total of 363 patrons attending either a club or hotel venue in Sydney. Gambling behaviour and responses to a brief satisfaction questionnaire were obtained under conditions of play on modified and unmodified electronic gaming devices. Responses to satisfaction measures varied between hotel and club patrons and recreational and problem gamblers. Problem gamblers consistently reported less satisfaction and enjoyment playing machines. Overall, little effect on satisfaction or enjoyment was found for either social or problem gamblers in respect to concurrent modifications limiting maximum bet size and reducing high denomination bill acceptors. Slower machines were rated as less satisfying to play, but effects were small and did not appear to influence player's stated intentions. It is yet to be determined if changes to structural characteristics of electronic gaming machines are associated with harm reduction.

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