Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 571–581

Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10899-009-9174-4

Cite this article as:
Rockloff, M.J. & Greer, N. J Gambl Stud (2010) 26: 571. doi:10.1007/s10899-009-9174-4


Tourists at the Koorana Saltwater Crocodile Farm in Coowonga, Queensland, Australia, including 62 males and 41 females, aged 18–66 (M = 34.2, SD = 13.3), were randomly assigned to play a laptop-simulated Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) either: (1) prior to entry, or (2) after having held a 1-m saltwater-crocodile. Gambling behavior; including bet-size, speed of betting, final payouts and trials played on the EGM; was investigated with respect to participants’ assigned arousal condition, problem-gambling status, and affective state. At-risk gamblers with few self-reported negative emotions placed higher average bets at the EGM after having held the crocodile when compared to the control. In contrast, at-risk gamblers with many self-reported negative emotions placed lower average bets at the EGM after having held the crocodile. The results suggest that high arousal can intensify gambling in at-risk players, but only if this feeling state is not perceived as a negative emotion.


GamblingPathological gamblingPhysiological arousalSensation seekingAffectPokerFruitSlot

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Health and Social Science ResearchCQUniversityBundabergAustralia