Casino Games

Sound and visual effects of slot machines said to increase the allure of gambling

Study claims that these effects increase the desire to play

In a paper “Effects of Winning Cues and Relative Payout on Choice between Simulated Slot Machines,” published in Addiction, scientists have shown that there is a strong relation between the sound and visual effects of slot machines and the desire to play.

According to the research, the sights and sounds of winning on a slot machine may increase your desire to play–and your memories of winning big. The study has been carried out by researchers at University of Alberta.

The team found that people prefer to play on virtual slot machines that provide casino-related cues, such as the sound of coins dropping or symbols of dollar signs. These things get associated with winning money and hence make playing on slot machines more attractive.

The researchers also found that people preferred to play on machines with these cues no matter how risky the machine was, and regardless of when the sound or visual effects appeared.

According to the Canadian Gaming Association, 98 per cent of Canadians gamble for fun and entertainment. Alberta is home to 28 casinos and more than 14,000 slot machines. In 2019, revenue generated by the gaming industry in Alberta was $2.7 billion.

This research was conducted in collaboration with Elliot Ludvig from Warwick University in the United Kingdom and with Yang Liu, a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. Funding for this research is provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI).

The paper, “Effects of Winning Cues and Relative Payout on Choice between Simulated Slot Machines,” was published in Addiction (doi: 10.1111/add.15010).

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