Mike Dixon Waterloo Gambling Research Lab, Ontario, Canada

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1 Mike Dixon Waterloo Gambling Research Lab, Ontario, Canada Kevin Harrigan, Jonathan Fugelsang, Candice Graydon, Madison Stange, Chanel Larche University of Waterloo

2

3 Depiction of our simulator emulating a mechanical three reel slot machine, rudimentary visual and auditory feedback

4 Depiction of our simulator emulating a modern multiline slot machine Players can bet 1 line

5 Or Players can bet up to 20 lines

6 THE ALLURE OF MULTILINE SLOTS Losses disguised as wins The sweet sound of losing money Near Misses promote the urge to continue gambling (Clark et al., 2009) Near Misses promote the urge to continue gambling (Clark et al., 20) Near Misses lengthen the amount of time spent playing slots (Cote et al., 2003?) Near Misses lengthen the amount of time spent playing slots (Cote et al., 2003?) The Zone

7 Losses Disguised as Wins CREDIT = running total LINES = # of lines wagered LINE BET = credits/ line BET = total bet per spin

8 When players spin and win more than they wager, the machine shows the winning lines and plays celebratory songs Here the player bets 20 credits and gets 26 credits This outcome results in win of 6 credits

9 When players spin and win back LESS than they wager, the machine still shows the winning lines and plays celebratory songs Here the player bets 20 credits and gets 2 credits This results in a net loss of 18 credits Because exciting feedback occurs for these net losses we call these outcomes Losses disguised As wins

10 Does this disguise fool anyone?

11 Undergraduates brought in to the lab Skin conductance responses and phasic heart rate changes were recorded See Dixon et al., 2010, Addiction for details

12

13 Losses Disguised as Wins 40 Novice players Played for 2, 15 minute sessions on a commercially available slot machine

14 p<.05 p<.05 Skin Conductance Response Amplitude(us) Losses Wins LDWs

15

16 Players somatically miscategorize LDWs as wins Are they cognitively fooled as well?

17 Can LDWs make players remember winning more often in a slots session than they did in actuality?

18 LDWs and win over-estimations

19 Novices overestimate wins in game with many LDWs # of wins Game with 7 LDWs Game with 18 LDWs

20 LDWs appear to trick novices into thinking they won more often than they did in actuality To be answered concerning LDWs What particular aspects of the celebratory feedback are part of the disguise? Will experienced slots players be fooled by the disguise?

21 What particular aspects of the celebratory feedback are part of the disguise? The sweet sound of losing money

22 Sweet sound of losing money 96 players 46 Non-problem Gamblers (0-2 on PGSI) 31 Moderate risk gamblers (3-7 on PGSI) 19 Problem gamblers (8 + on PGSI) 200 spins: Standard game winning sounds accompany all wins and LDWs Modified game with no sounds following wins or LDWs

23 In the standard game winning sounds accompany all wins and LDWs

24 In the modified game no winning sounds accompany all wins and LDWs X

25 Subjective Measures Game Preference Win estimates Estimate the number of times you won more than you wagered (give a number between 1 and 200)

26 Do sounds affect players game preference? 72.5% of players preferred the game with the sounds following the wins and LDWs. Gamblers rated the game with these sounds as significantly more arousing than the game without sound (p=.04)

27 Do sounds help to disguise losses as wins? In each condition there were 28 actual wins and 28 LDWs

28 40 38 Win estimates p= Win Estimates No Winning sound off Sounds Winning sound Sounds on

29 Sounds help to disguise losses as wins when players get back less than they wagered

30 Will experienced players be fooled by the LDWs?

31 60 50 Correlated PGSI scores with win estimates R=.232 (no sound), p=.026 R=.321, (sound), p=.002 Replication with n=110 playing a different simulator R=.265, p=.005 Win Estimates

32 Sounds affect players game preferences and experience. Sounds are an integral part of the disguise in losses disguised as wins. LDWs fool both novices and more seasoned gamblers

33

34 The Zone You go into that trance, that zone, that box. Nobody can touch you. You have escaped from reality. No one can ask you for anything

35 The Zone Many players who gamble to escape claim the only time they are not thinking about their life problems is when they are in the zone

36 Credit changes across spins for single line and multiline games. 1-line game A smoother ride multiline-line game Jagged experience

37 Do Gamblers Prefer Multiple Lines? Recorded the game play of 83 participants (36 Female 47 Male) Used standard cutoffs of the Problem Gambling Severity Index 29 Non-problem gamblers (0-2 PGSI) 25 Moderate Risk gamblers (3-7 PGSI) 29 Problem Gamblers (8 + on PGSI) Played 2 actual slot machines for 250 spins each told to play as they would in a casino Players could select 1, 5, 9 or 15 lines

38 Do Gamblers Prefer Multiple lines? Players chose to play all 15 lines on 71% of spins in game 1, and 72% of spins on game 2 only 5.2% and 4.7% of spins were single-line spins Replicates an Australian study by Livingstone et al., (2008)

39 The zone. In this study we asked players to subjectively rate their game experiences Two items were of particular interest I forgot everything around me I felt completely absorbed Not at all, slightly, moderately, fairly, extremely

40 PGs give higher ratings of Zone Entry Absorption ratings

41 Interim Summary In free choice using commercially available machines Players spent most of their time playing maximum lines Problem gamblers appear to enter THE ZONE during play Questions unanswered Do players prefer multi-line games because of the LDWs Compared to single line games, do multi-line games preferentially foster entry into the zone?

42 LDWs, multiline slots and the zone 102 gamblers Used modified category cutoffs of PGSI (Currie et al., 2013) 30 non-problem gamblers (0 PGSI) 48 Low risk (1-4 on Problem Gambling Severity Index) 21 High risk (5-27 on Problem Gambling Severity Index)

43 Used a simulator

44 Given $15.00 to play told they could keep whatever was left 1-line game (250 spins 0 LDWs) 20-line game (250 spins- 75 LDWs) 1-line game Bet 1 on each of 20 lines (20 s per spin), Players lost only 20 overall 20-line game bet 1 on each of 20 lines (20 s per spin), Players lost $3.75

45 After slots session Asked which game they preferred. After each game we subjectively measured: Arousal/Positive and Negative affect Absorption/ entry into the zone Gathered win estimates for: the 1-line game The 20-line game

46 Predictions & Results Most players would prefer the 20 line game 91 out of 98 players preferred the 20-line game Even though they lost way more on this game!!! Most players would find 20-line game : More pleasant More arousing exciting Less negative

47 p=.001 p=.003 p=.01

48 Do players prefer multi-line games because of LDWs? Players might prefer games on which they thought they won more often

49 Win Overestimate Effect In 1-line game there are 0 LDWs predict no overestimation in 1-line game In the 20-line game there were 75 LDWs Predict significant overestimation in 20-line game

50 Win Estimates p=.01 Win Estimates line 20-line

51 Win Overestimate Effect Players think they won more often playing multiline games than single line games Could contribute to the allure of multiline games

52 Single line games long chains of full losses (6.1) 20-line games celebratory feedback almost every other spin If players view LDWs as rewarding, they might prefer multiline games since they experience rewards far more often than in single line games

53 Measuring Reward using Post- Reinforcement Pauses Measure the time between the last reel stopping, and the initiation of the next spin In slots play gamblers tend to spin quickly following a loss Following a win they pause as if to mentally celebrate the win The bigger the win the longer the pause

54 Single-Line Game (Dixon, MacLaren, Jarick, Fugelsang, & Harrigan, 2013) 2500 Post-Reinforcment Pause Duration (ms) Spin Outcome

55 Can we show that LDWs are as rewarding as actual wins using PRPs? Consider gains of 2 credits in single and multiline games

56 NET WIN 1 credit

57 NET LOSS 18 credits

58 Predictions for 1-line play Post-Reinforcement Pauses (ms) Loss 2 credits credits credits 1-line 20-line

59 Predictions if LDWs are as rewarding Post-Reinforcement Pauses (ms) as wins Loss 2 credits credits credits 1-line 20-line

60 Actual Findings 4000 Post-Reinforcement Pauses (ms) p<.001 n.s n.s. 1-line 20-line Loss 2 credits credits credits

61 Players have equivalent PRPs for true wins and LDWs Suggests that players find LDWs as rewarding as true wins

62 Zone Entry Predictions If playing multiple lines leads to a smoother game experience that fosters zoneentry for PGS then Zone entry for PGs but only for the 20-line game

63 Absorption Ratings p=.003 High Risk Gamblers particularly prone to enter zone, but only for the 20-line games!

64 THE ALLURE OF MULTILINE SLOTS Losses disguised as wins LDWs trigger equivalent SCRs and PRPs as wins LDWs cause players to overestimate wins The sweet sound of losing money Players prefer games with winning sounds Overestimate wins more games with winning sounds Those with gambling problems most prone to win Near Misses promote the urge to continue gambling (Clark et al., 2009) Near Misses promote the urge to continue gambling (Clark et al., 20) Near Misses lengthen the amount of time spent playing slots (Cote et al., 2003?) Near Misses lengthen the amount of time spent playing slots (Cote et al., 2003?) overestimation The zone Players prefer multiline games only get win overestimation effect in multiline games Problem gamblers enter zone more for 20-line games

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