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

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          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.


          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.


          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.


          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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          Most cited references13

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          Risk factors for problematic gambling: a critical literature review.

          This article is a critical review of risk factors for pathological gambling categorized by demographics, physiological and biological factors, cognitive distortions, comorbidity and concurrent symptoms, and personality symptoms and characteristics. There is also a varia section (availability, parents playing, sensory characteristics, schedules of reinforcement, age of onset, and playing duration). The review found very few well established risk factors for pathological gambling (i.e. more than two studies to support the conclusions). Well established risk factors included demographic variables (age, gender), cognitive distortions (erroneous perceptions, illusion of control), sensory characteristics, schedules of reinforcement, comorbid disorders (OCD, drug abuse), and delinquency/illegal acts. An understanding of risk factors for pathological gambling should enhance prevention and treatment approaches.
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            Electronic gaming machines: are they the 'crack-cocaine' of gambling?

            There is a general view that electronic gaming is the most 'addictive' form of gambling, in that it contributes more to causing problem gambling than any other gambling activity. As such, electronic gaming machines have been referred to as the 'crack-cocaine' of gambling. While this analogy has popular appeal, it is only recently that the scientific community has begun to investigate its validity. In line with the belief that electronic gambling has a higher 'addictive' potential than other forms of gambling, research has also begun to focus on identifying the characteristics of gaming machines that may be associated with problem gambling behaviour. This paper will review the different types of modern electronic gaming machines, and will use the introduction of gaming machines to Australia to examine the association between electronic gaming and problem gambling, with particular reference to the characteristics of modern electronic gaming machines. Despite overwhelming acceptance that gaming machines are associated with the highest level of problem gambling, the empirical literature provides inconclusive evidence to support the analogy linking electronic gaming to 'crack-cocaine'. Rigorous and systematic evaluation is required to establish definitively the absolute 'addictive' potential of gaming machines and the degree to which machine characteristics influence the development and maintenance of problem gambling behaviour.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: not found
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              Heads I win, tails it's chance: The illusion of control as a function of the sequence of outcomes in a purely chance task.


                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó, co-published with Springer Science+Business Media B.V., Formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers B.V.
                1 September 2012
                : 1
                : 3
                : 135-139
                [ 1 ] Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
                [ 2 ] Norwegian Social Research — NOVA, Oslo, Norway
                [ 3 ] Department of Psychosocial Science, Christiesgt 12, NO-5020, Bergen, Norway
                Author notes
                © 2012 The Author(s)

                Open Access statement. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                : 6 April 2012
                : 17 July 2012
                : 22 July 2012
                Self URI (journal page): https://akademiai.com/loi/2006

                Medicine,Psychology,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                electronic gaming machines,gambling,structural characteristics,behavior,tempo


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