Skill-based electronic gaming machines: Features that mimic video gaming, features that could contribute to harm, and their potential attraction to different groups

Philip Newall*, Matthew Rockloff, Hannah Thorne, Alex Russell, Tess Visintin, Nerilee Hing, Matthew Browne, Georgia Dellosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

New gambling products have been developed over time as technology permits. For example, early mechanical slot machines were later replaced by electronic gaming machines (EGMs), which enabled a faster speed of play and more immersive experience. EGMs have in the decades since their invention become one of the main drivers of gambling expenditure worldwide and are one of the gambling products most strongly associated with harm. This literature review considers research relevant to a new subcategory of EGM, ‘skill-based’ EGMs, termed ‘SGMs’ here. SGMs can be highly varied in content, with some representing a minimal departure from EGMs, where the typical bonus round is replaced by some skill-based activity, such as a simple video game, which could increase the machine’s appeal. Other SGMs feature more radical departures from conventional EGMs, such as multiplayer games using intellectual property from popular TV shows or video games. These skill-based elements could tap into common gambling fallacies such as the illusion of control, and therefore facilitate harmful engagement. SGMs could also be less harmful than current EGMs, if skill-based elements break the dissociative states associated with EGM gambling. The intellectual property used in SGMs may increase their appeal among people who generally do not gamble, and the skill-based elements could increase their interest among gamblers who predominately prefer skill-based gambling formats such as sports betting. The novelty and varied content of SGMs present many open questions, which research should aim to address in future.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Early online date23 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Structured keywords

  • Gambling Harms

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