Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 343–355 | Cite as

Electronic Gaming Machine Gambling: Measuring Motivation

  • Anna C. Thomas
  • Felicity C. Allen
  • James Phillips
Original Paper


Electronic gambling machines (EGMs) are known to be a particularly risky form of gambling (Petry. Addiction 98(5):645–655, 2003). It is vital that researchers and clinicians are aware of factors which could lead to people having problems with this form. Gambling motivation is one such factor. This study developed a measure of EGM gambling motivations based on the results of qualitative research conducted with EGM problem gamblers and experienced counsellors (Thomas et al. Int J Mental Health Addiction 7:97–107, 2009). A community based sample of 232 females (M = 29.60 years of age, SD = 15.41 years) and 123 males (M = 29.64 years of age, SD = 12.29 years) participated. Exploratory factor analysis extracted three motivational factors indicating people gambled on EGMs to escape, for its accessibility and for the social environment. Gambling to escape and for its accessibility had substantial positive correlations with frequency of EGM gambling and gambling problems. Social environment correlated less well with these indicators of excessive gambling. Correlations between factors suggested the accessible, social experience offered by EGM venues increases their appeal as a means of escape. The new subscales were internally consistent and demonstrated good evidence of validity. This new measure will facilitate future investigations into the relationships between gambling motivations, other aetiological factors and EGM problem gambling.


Gaming machine Problem gambling Avoidance Accessibility Social 


  1. Biddle, D., Hawthorne, G., Forbes, D., & Coman, G. (2005). Problem gambling in Australian PTSD treatment-seeking veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(6), 759–767.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blaszczynski, A., & Nower, L. (2002). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97(5), 487–499.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Breen, R. B., & Zimmerman, M. (2002). Rapid onset of pathological gambling in machine gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies, 18(1), 31–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clarke, D. (2004). Impulsiveness, locus of control, motivation and problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20(4), 319–345.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clarke, D. (2008). Older adults’ gambling motivation and problem gambling: A comparative study. Journal of Gambling Studies, 24(2), 175–192.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clarke, D., Tse, S., Abbott, M., Townsend, S., Kingi, P., & Manaia, W. (2007). Reasons for starting and continuing gambling in a mixed ethnic community sample of pathological and non-problem gamblers. International Gambling Studies, 7(3), 299–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coventry, K. R., & Constable, B. (1999). Physiological arousal and sensation-seeking in female fruit machine gamblers. Addiction, 94(3), 425–430.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dawis, R. V. (1987). Scale construction. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 34(4), 481–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DeVellis, R. (2003). Scale development theory and applications. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Dickerson, M. (2004). Analysis of clients presenting to problem gambling counselling services, July 2001 to June 2002, client and services analysis report No. 8. Melbourne: Victorian Government, Department of Human Resources.Google Scholar
  11. Driver, B. L. (1983). Master list of items for Recreation Experience Preference scales and domains. USDA Forest Service, Fort Collins, CO: Rocky Mountains Forest and Range Experiment Station (Unpublished document).Google Scholar
  12. Ferris, J., & Wynne, H. J. (2001). The Canadian Problem Gambling Index: Final report. From Accessed 10 March 2005.
  13. Getty, H. A., Watson, J., & Frisch, G. R. (2000). A comparison of depression and styles of coping in male and female GA members and controls. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16(4), 377–391.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grant, J. E., Kim, S. W., & Brown, E. (2001). Characteristics of geriatric patients seeking medication treatment for pathologic gambling disorder. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 14(3), 125–130.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Griffiths, M. (1990). The acquisition, development, and maintenance of fruit machine gambling in adolescents. Journal of Gambling Studies, 6(3), 193–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Griffiths, M. (2007). Interactive television quizzes as gambling: A cause for concern? Journal of Gambling Issues, 20, 269–276. From Accessed 11 October 2008.
  17. Griffiths, M., & Delfabbro, P. (2001). The biopsychosocial approach to gambling: Contextual factors in research and clinical interventions. The Electronic Journal of Gambling Issues: eGambling, 5, no pagination specified. From Accessed 14 February 2005.
  18. Griffiths, M., & Parke, J. (2002). The social impact of internet gambling. Social Science Computer Review, 20(3), 312–320.Google Scholar
  19. Hair, J. F. (2005). Multivariate data analysis (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  20. Hitchcock, J. H., Nastasi, B. K., Dai, D. Y., Newman, J., Jayasena, A., Bernstein-Moore, R., et al. (2005). Illustrating a mixed-method approach for validating culturally specific constructs. Journal of School Psychology, 43(3), 259–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lee, H., Chae, P. K., Lee, H., & Kim, Y. (2007). The five-factor gambling motivation model. Psychiatry Research, 150(1), 21–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Manfredo, M. J., Driver, B. L., & Tarrant, M. A. (1996). Measuring leisure motivation: A meta-analysis of the recreation experience preference scales. Journal of Leisure Research, 28(3), 188–213.Google Scholar
  23. McBain, N., & Ohtsuka, K. (2001). Predicting problem gambling among poker machine players from coping styles and motivational factors. In A. Blaszczynski (Ed.), Culture and the gambling phenomenon. Proceedings of the 11th National Association of Gambling Studies conference. Sydney: National Association of Gambling Studies.Google Scholar
  24. New Focus Research. (2003). Study of Clients of Problem Gambling Services Stage One Report: The experiences of problem gamblers, their families and service providers. Melbourne: Gambling Research Panel.Google Scholar
  25. Petry, N. (2003). A comparison of treatment-seeking pathological gamblers based on preferred gambling activity. Addiction, 98(5), 645–655.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Platz, L., & Millar, M. (2001). Gambling in the context of other recreational activity: A quantitative comparison of casual and pathological student gamblers. Journal of Leisure Research, 33(4), 383–395.Google Scholar
  27. Ricketts, T., & Macaskill, A. (2003). Gambling as emotion management: Developing a grounded theory of problem gambling. Addiction Research and Theory, 11(6), 383–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schrans, T., Schellinck, T., & Walsh, G. (2001). 2000 regular VL players follow up: A comparative analysis of problem development and resolution. Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia Department of Health, Addiction Services.Google Scholar
  29. Sharpe, L. (2002). A reformulated cognitive-behavioral model of problem gambling a biopsychosocial perspective. Clinical Psychology Review, 22(1), 1–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Slowo, D. (1997). Are all gamblers the same? An exploration of personality and motivational characteristics of individuals with different gambling preferences. In G. Coman, B. Evans, & R. Woottoon (Eds.), Responsible gambling: A future winner. Proceedings of the 8th National Association of Gambling Studies conference. Melbourne: National Association of Gambling Studies.Google Scholar
  31. Surgey, D. (2000). Playing for time: Exploring the impacts of gambling on women. Melbourne: Victorian Government, Department of Human Services.Google Scholar
  32. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson, Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  33. Thomas, A., & Moore, S. (2003). The interactive effects of avoidance coping and dysphoric mood on problem gambling for female and male gamblers. The Electronic Journal of Gambling Issues: eGambling, 8, no pagination specified. From
  34. Thomas, A. C., Sullivan, G. B., & Allen, F. C. L. (2009). A theoretical model of EGM problem gambling: More than a cognitive escape. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 7, 97–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Volberg, R. (2003). Gambling and problem gambling in Arizona. Northampton: Gemini Research.Google Scholar
  36. Wood, R. T. A., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). A qualitative investigation of problem gambling as an escape-based coping strategy. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 80, 107–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wood, R. T. A., Gupta, R., Derevensky, J. L., & Griffiths, M. (2004). Video game playing and gambling in adolescents: Common risk factors. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 14(1), 77–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Yoshioka, C. F., Nilson, R., & Simpson, S. (2002). A cross-cultural study of desired psychological benefits to leisure of American, Canadian, Japanese and Taiwanese college students. LARNet; The Cyber Journal of Applied Leisure and Recreational Research, 4, 1–1. From Accessed 19 April 2005.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna C. Thomas
    • 1
  • Felicity C. Allen
    • 1
  • James Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological MedicineMonash UniversityCaulfield EastAustralia

Personalised recommendations