The Betting Professionals


Updated on August 25th 2021, 5:18:41 am

Electronic Gaming Machines

Electronic gaming machines (EGMs) refers to land-based gaming machines, as distinct from online EGMs which are usually called online slots.

Electronic gaming machines (EGMs) refers to land-based gaming machines, as distinct from online EGMs which are usually called online slots. They are the outcome of digital technological advancements in the field of audio-visual effects. These machines have raised particular concerns due to their availability worldwide and their association with problem gambling. A total of 15 articles addressed various aspects of EGMs.

Armstrong et al. conducted an environmental scan to explore features that might encourage reckless betting or entice new players. They conclude that technological enhancements have the potential to “increase immersion and potentially encourage elevated play by automatic betting functions, reducing the time between games and reinforcing betting behaviours with intricate graphics, animations and sound”. Goodwin et al. conducted a qualitative study of player preferences in relation to traditional and innovative gambling products. Traditional products were seen as less harmful, more social, and more enjoyable than innovative products. In a critical review, Armstrong et al. state that more research is needed in this area, particularly in terms of the effect on player behaviour and potential risks.


Looking at particular characteristics of EGMs, the research on jackpots identified that various characteristics increase gambling behaviour and affect gambling motivation. Browne et al. found that jackpots influenced gambling motivations, with this being particularly the case for gamblers at-risk of problem gambling. They also found an association of jackpots with greater spend. Similarly, Li et al. found intensifying effects on gambling behaviour with high value jackpot configurations. Donaldson et al. note a marginal positive contribution of hidden jackpots to risky playing behaviour.


Considering the potential effects across a range of EGM characteristics, Landon et al. conducted a focus group study in New Zealand exploring which characteristics participants found attractive. Free spin features were the most attractive. Greater intensity and duration of gambling were found to be associated with smaller win related characteristics and low-denomination machines with multiple playable lines. The effect of multi-line play on attention was also found in a study by Murch and Clark.

Barton et al. conducted a systematic review of losses disguised as wins and near misses in EGMs. They found near misses motivated continued play but had varied effects on betting behaviour and players’ emotional states, while losses disguised as wins were related to an overestimation of how much a player is winning. The study on speed of play looked at the potential value of using a measure of individual rates-of-play in EGM research.

An article on gambling machine annexes explored the characteristics of annexes and discussed how they might promote heavy and problematic gambling . Similarly, an article on anthropomorphisation of slot machines explored its possible negative impact, and a discussion article on virtual reality noted that there is little research on this form of gambling and explored public policy implications.


Gap Analysis


The gap analysis, presented in Table 8, followed a similar trend to gaps identified in other areas of gambling technologies and trends. Knowledge gaps were most frequently identified, particularly the need for research exploring psychological factors and more research in general. Few method gaps were identified in terms of using data mining and including more representative samples. In terms of public health/practical knowledge gaps, one article noted the need for research into gambling regulation related to EGM technologies and trends.