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What factors influence the ability of gamblers to keep to limits during pokies play?
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What factors influence the ability of gamblers to keep to limits during pokies play?

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Ms Sarah Hare …

Ms Sarah Hare
Director, Schottler Consulting

Presentation given on 23 May 2011 at "The New Game: Emerging technology and responsible gambling" forum hosted by the Victorian Government's Office of Gaming and Racing as part of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week 2011.






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  • 1. schottler consulting insight from complexity Factors which influence EGM player adherence to gambling spend limitsResearch commissioned by Gambling Research Australia Presentation by Sarah Hare Director - Schottler Consulting Pty Ltd sarah@schottler.com.au
  • 2. Research overview•  Research examined factors which influence whether gamblers kept to their limits during EGM play•  Shadowing of 200 EGM players across Australia during pokies play•  Challenging method as all play transactions were recorded LIVE during play•  One of very few behavioural studies of EGM play•  Possibly the first study EVER to manually record live play transactions•  Findings revealed many insights into both EGM player behaviour and EGM player adherence to limits during play schottler consulting insight from complexity
  • 3. This shows the complexity of the data recording method!_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (+ a detailed survey as well) Money IN MULTI BETS Spins/games associated with LOSSES OR WINS FREE SPINS/FEATURES WON Double up/gamble B. Max M. Won A. EGM EGM J. Multi- I. Wins O. Amount NOTES COINS E. Money F. Win G. Win H. Win K. Free spins L. Features from free credit more N. Tally won/lost ($) ($) prize C. D. lost $0.01-$5 $5.01-$10 $10.01-20 won won spins/ bets than $20 $ features(i) NAME $ WINS(ii) DENOM1c / 2c / 5 c Every 5min (5=highest score) After F/spin After Feat. LOSSES Excitement - ____ _____ _____ _____ Excitement - Excitement -(iii) AGE _____ ____ _____ _____ _____ _____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___Very new / ____ _____ _____ _____ _____ ____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___new / older B1. Is _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ ____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ this _____ _____ ___ _____ _____ _____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ machine ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___(iv) T/SCRN a linked Urge - ____ _____ _____ _____ ____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___Yes / No jackpot? ____ _____ _____ _____ _____ ____ (circle) _____ _____ _____ _____ ____ _____ Urge - Urge - Yes / No _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ ____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___(iv)2m radius _____ _____ ___ _____ _____ _____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ Q. Sound of other EGM coins falling S. Money accessed from U. Money cashed OUT P. Songs R. Alcoholic drinks ATM or EFTPOS (provide playing? (EXCLUDING player’s) consumed (part or full) $) - EVEN IF NOT SPENT TOTAL $ WINE: ATM: Yes / No BEERS: SPIRITS: EFTPOS: V. FINISH TIME --> T. OTHER ACTIVITIES or events X. PLAY SATISFACTION (5=highest) (list each and minutes)
  • 4. How do EGM players set their limits?•  In addition to money limits, 80% set bet size limit, 28% time limit •  42% of problem gamblers set a bet size limit on more than 2 credits per line (versus 15% of non-problem gamblers) •  At-risk gamblers were less likely to set a time limit (compared to non-problem gamblers) •  When a time limit was set, problem gamblers set a higher time limit (p<.05) (81.3 v 50.3 minutes)•  Only half (52%) set their expenditure limit more than a day before play•  Problem gamblers were less likely to ‘always’ set limits (p<.001)•  Despite this, problem gamblers were also more likely to report loans (p<.05)•  Higher-risk players also tended to report fewer budget categories•  Problem gamblers were more likely to overspend household budgets (especially food, car, cigarette budgets) (p<.05) schottler consulting insight from complexity
  • 5. Problem gamblers had great difficulty deciding on their limit (!) Self-reported EGM expenditure limits at three different points in time 123.8 F 120 105.4 FMean EGM expenditure limit ($) 100 80 68.6 F 60 47.3 47.4 46.1 H H H 40 37 B 34.3 B 31.2 J B J J 31.6 27.3 29.2 20 Outside venue Before play at venue After play at venue B Non-problem gamblers H Moderate risk gamblers J Low risk gamblers F Problem gamblers
  • 6. Did EGM players keep to their limits?•  Based on observation of spending - Between 12-16% of EGM players exceeded their spend limit in a single session•  However, based on self-report – only 7% reported exceeding their spend limit•  17% exceeded time limit (based on observation) (or 2% based on self-report)•  7% exceeded their bet size limit (based on self-report)•  Results raise issues such as: •  How should adherence to limits be measured? •  How often and where should players set limits? schottler consulting insight from complexity
  • 7. Factors which influenced whether players kept to spend limits – General factors •  Players who set spend limits closer to play were more likely to not adhere to their limits (p>.05)•  Players exceeding spend limits were less likely to set a time limit (p<.05)•  30% of players reported using ‘control strategies’ and players who didn’t report ‘control strategies’ were more likely to exceed their limit (p<.05)•  Players exceeding spend limits were less likely to notice RG signage (p<.01) and players not noticing signage were more absorbed in play (p<.05)•  Players exceeding spend limits were more likely to feel they were ‘due’ for a win (p<.01) and to report ‘chasing losses’ (p<.001) (especially after a feature!) schottler consulting insight from complexity
  • 8. Factors which influenced whether players kept to spend limits – EGM design factors •  Players were more likely to exceed their EGM expenditure limit if they: •  Received an increased number of free spins (after moving from the 1st to 2nd EGM) (p<.001) •  Were highly absorbed and involved in play (p<.05) •  Reported feeling stronger urges to continue during EGM play (p<.05) •  Experienced high excitement after receiving features during EGM play (p<.05) Mean spins per minute by risk for problem gambling and player adherence to precommitted spend limits 14 Mean spins - players who did NOT adhere to limits 13•  Findings also showed 12 12 a link between speed Mean spins per minute 11 of play and adherence 10 to limits (p<.05) 9 8 7.8 Mean spins - players who adhered to limits 7 6 5.5 5.5 5.2 5.3 5.1 5.1 5 Non-problem Low risk Moderate risk Problem Non-problem Low risk Moderate risk Problem gamblers gamblers gamblers gamblers gamblers gamblers gamblers gamblers schottler consulting EGM spins per minute of play (excluding free spins, features and usei n s i g h t f r o m c o m p l e x i t y of double-up)
  • 9. Factors which influenced whether players kept to spend limits – Lifestyle factors •  Recent retirement increased likelihood that players exceeded limits (p<.01)•  Players were less likely to exceed expenditure limits if they had ‘money worries’ and reported the following in past year: •  Taking on a mortgage, loan or making a large purchase (p<.01) •  Experiencing daily money hassles (p<.05) •  Concern over owing money or debts (p<.05) •  Concern over job security (p<.05) schottler consulting insight from complexity
  • 10. Factors which predict c t o r s w h i c h pduring EGM play F a urge to continue r e d i c t urges to continue EGM play Excitement from features Coin drops in background The higher excitement ratings when The more players heard coin drops in features were received during play the background (r=.196, p<.01) (r=.599, p<.001) Friendliness of venue staff Overall play excitement The friendlier the sta were at the The higher the overall play excitement EGM venue (r=.178, p<.05) (r=.526, p<.001) Controlling for risk Excitement from free spins Higher number of multi-credits for problem gambling The higher the excitement ratings when The total multi-credit bets made during EGM play (r=.166, p<.05) free spins were received (r=.322, p<.01) Higher urge to continue EGM playTotal features during session Money won - free spins/features The more features recorded during the The more money won by players following live observation (r=.247, p<.001) free spins/features (r=.164, p<.05) •  Promotions + prizes were also linked toTotal free spins during session Tending towards significance excitement (p<.001) The total free spins recorded during Player desire for wins (r=.13, p=.07) the live observation (r=.216, p<.01) The more players had wins from $10-20 •  The greater the (r=.272, p=.09) or 1c-$5 (r=.13, p=.07) change in excitement The more spins associated with money (from EGM1-2), theLoyalty points/incentives lost (r=.14, p=.06) greater the urge The more players visited venue for loyalty points/incentives (r=.214, p<.01) to continue (p<.001)
  • 11. Other interesting EGM LIVE play observations •  Both moderate risk and problem gamblers tended to play EGMs offering higher prizes•  Problem gamblers were more likely to select linked jackpot machines (55% compared to only 41% of non-problem gamblers)•  Problem gamblers were more likely to play at hotels (69% compared to 37% of non-problem gamblers)•  Moderate risk and problem gamblers played in areas where there were fewer people•  Problem gamblers put more money on the credit meter before commencing play•  Problem gamblers made more multiple credit bets and used double-up more frequently than non-problem gamblers schottler consulting insight from complexity
  • 12. Conclusions •  Various aspects of EGM and venue design may be related to players exceeding limits or the urge to continue play (eg. Free spins, features, loyalty points + incentives)•  While there are many risk factors for exceeding limits, many players also have an ability to self-regulate•  Research also suggests that problem gamblers have difficulty deciding on their spend limit, have less clear household budgets + may play faster•  Highlights the need for balance and control during gambling schottler consulting insight from complexity