Liquor and Gaming NSW > Gaming & Wagering

The impact of electronic gaming machine jackpots on gambling behaviour (2014)

About the study

Prepared by a team led by Matthew Rockloff, this research examined the impact of jackpots from electronic gaming machines (EGM) on player behaviour.

The researchers asked 'do jackpots and linked jackpots increase the likelihood of risky gambling behaviour and gambling related harm, and to what extent do jackpots enhance the player experience?'

The findings suggest:

  • People have rational, biased and irrational means to value jackpot EGMs over similar machines without jackpots.
  • Experimental and in-venue research demonstrates that for high-value jackpot machines intensity betting behaviour is differentially attractive to at risk players.
  • There's an interaction between jackpot size on participants' average bet size on the EGM. The largest bets were made on high jackpot machines.
  • Suggestively large-value hidden jackpots potentially contribute to intensive betting in the form of gambling speed and persistence.
  • Jackpot expiry is likely to have a measurable effect in limiting player losses in the long run.
  • The score of the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) was not associated with faster switching between EGMs, though high PGSI gamblers spent a longer total time gambling.

This research is useful in that it provides findings to suggest that jackpots are appropriate targets for regulatory attention. Jackpot expiry may be a targeted solution that preserves the entertainment value of jackpots, yet removes the unwanted side-effect of encouraging gambling persistence among players who are losing. 

Additionally, extended total gambling time may be an indicator of gambling problems. This is a useful result as it is a behaviour that may be observed unobtrusively by venue staff.

This study was funded through Gambling Research Australia.

Read the report​.

How to cite this report

Rockloff M, Nerilee H, Donaldson P, Li E, Browne M & Langham E 2015, The impact of electronic gaming machine jackpots on gambling behaviour. Gambling Research Australia. Melbourne.

Main list of gambling research reports here.