Veiled EGM jackpots: The effects of hidden and mystery jackpots on gambling intensity

Abstract

Understanding the impact of EGM Jackpots on gambling intensity may allow targeted strategies to be implemented that facilitate harm minimisation by acting to reduce losses of gamblers who play frequently, while maintaining the enjoyment and excitement of potential jackpots. The current study investigated the influences of Hidden and Mystery Jackpots on EGM gambling intensity. In a Hidden Jackpot, the prize value is not shown to the player, although the existence of a jackpot prize is advertised. In a Mystery Jackpot, the jackpot triggering state of the machine is unknown to players. One hundred and seven volunteers (males = 49, females = 58) played a laptop-simulated EGM with a starting $20 real-money stake and a chance to win a Jackpot ($500). Participants played for either a Hidden or Known Jackpot Value, with either a Mystery or Known winning symbol combination in a crossed design. Lastly, a control condition with no jackpot was included. Gambling intensity (speed of bets, persistence) was greater when the Jackpot value was unknown, especially when a winning-symbol combination suggested that a win was possible. While there is no evidence in the present investigation to suggest that Hidden or Mystery jackpots contribute to greater player enjoyment, there is some evidence to suggest a marginal positive contribution of hidden jackpots to risky playing behaviour.

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