Date: 29 May 2014

Jackpot Expiry: An Experimental Investigation of a New EGM Player-Protection Feature

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Given the evidence for the motivating influence of electronic gaming machines (EGM) jackpots on intensifying player behaviour (Rockloff and Hing in J Gambl Stud 1–7, 2013), there is good reason to explore consumer-protection features. Jackpot Expiry is a potential feature of a mandatory pre-commitment system or player identification system (e.g., loyalty program) whereby the availability of jackpots expires after a fixed interval of play. One hundred and thirty volunteers (males = 56, females = 74) played a laptop-simulated EGM with a starting $20 real-money stake. In the test condition, players were shown a “relevant” message stating that the promised jackpot had expired and could no longer be won by the participant (after the 20th trial). In the irrelevant message condition a similar pop-up message simply said to push the button to continue. Lastly, a control condition had no pop-up message about the jackpot expiring. The results showed that betting speeds (one indicator of gambling intensity) were significantly slowed by the relevant ‘expiry’ message. Most importantly, all wagers past the 20th trial were programmed as losses. Player receiving the ‘expiry’ message for a cash jackpot quit with significantly more money remaining on the machine. Therefore, jackpot expiry was effective in limiting player losses, while there was no evidence that jackpot expiry reduced self-rated player enjoyment of the simulated EGM experience.