Tempo in electronic gaming machines affects behavior among at-risk gamblers

Abstract

AB Background and aims: Electronic gaming machines (EGM) may be a particularly addictive form of gambling, and gambling speed is believed to contribute to the addictive potential of such machines. The aim of the current study was to generate more knowledge concerning speed as a structural characteristic in gambling, by comparing the effects of three different bet-to-outcome intervals (BOI) on gamblers bet-sizes, game evaluations and illusion of control during gambling on a computer simulated slot machine. Furthermore, we investigated whether problem gambling moderates effects of BOI on gambling behavior and cognitions. Methods: 62 participants played a computerized slot machine with either fast (400 ms), medium (1700 ms) or slow (3000 ms) BOI. SOGS-R was used to measure pre-existing gambling problems. Mean bet size, game evaluations and illusion of control comprised the dependent variables. Results: Gambling speed had no overall effect on either mean bet size, game evaluations or illusion of control, but in the 400 ms condition, at-risk gamblers (SOGS-R score > 0) employed higher bet sizes compared to no-risk (SOGS-R score = 0) gamblers. Conclusions: The findings corroborate and elaborate on previous studies and indicate that restrictions on gambling speed may serve as a harm reducing effort for at-risk gamblers.

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