Thursday, 12 June 2014

Games of chance or masters of illusion: multiline slots design may promote cognitive distortions

DEPM's Dr Charles Livingstone has contributed to a research paper which looks at the design of modern multiline electronic gaming machines and the false impression that they give to players about controlling salient features of the game. The study has found that player controls may create the subjective impression in some players that slot machine gambling is a skill that can be learned and practised to yield some advantage, posing the question of how much problem and non-problem players actually understand about the control they have over these games.

According to the study, problem gamblers often have distorted beliefs about gambling, including illusion of
control and gambler’s fallacy. Most multiline slots games allow players to adjust the number of wagered paylines and the amount bet per line, and over time this control may support incorrect conclusions and promote distorted gambling beliefs.

The study created software to run simulations of a popular multiline slots game and examined the effects
of betting on single versus multiple paylines. It found that simultaneous multiline betting tends to
produce a less varied gambling experience because it increases the frequency of legitimate wins and ‘losses disguised as wins’, while decreasing the occurrence of ‘big wins’. It also shortens consecutive series of losing spins and it prolongs the time a typical player takes to exhaust funds. Indirect control over losing streaks may give some players the false impression that they can play skilfully and predict the occurrence of wins.

Click here to read 'Games of chance or masters of illusion: multiline slots design may promote cognitive distortions' in full.

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