Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 67–88 | Cite as

Impact of Mode of Display and Message Content of Responsible Gambling Signs for Electronic Gaming Machines on Regular Gamblers

  • Sally Monaghan
  • Alex Blaszczynski
Original Paper


Harm-minimization strategies aim to reduce gambling-related risks; however, minimal evidence supports the effectiveness of current strategies involving the placement of warning signs in gambling venues and on electronic gaming machines (EGMs). This qualitative replication study evaluated the differential effect of pop-up messages compared to static signs and the content of messages on EGMs on recall, thoughts, and behaviors assessed during the session and at 2-week follow-up. In Study 1, 127 regular EGM gamblers (male = 97, mean age = 20.3) recruited from a university student population attended a laboratory where they were randomly assigned to play a computer-based simulated EGM analogue displaying signs that differed by (a) mode of presentation (pop-up and static) and (b) message content (informative, self-appraisal, and control/blank). In Study 2, an identical methodology was used but included the use of a simulated EGM within an in vivo gaming setting with 124 regular EGM players (male = 81, mean age = 44.1). Results from both studies showed that pop-up messages were recalled more effectively than static messages immediately and at 2-week follow-up. Pop-up messages reportedly had a significantly greater impact on within-session thoughts and behaviors. Messages encouraging self-appraisal resulted in significantly greater effect on self-reported thoughts and behaviors during both the experimental session and in subsequent EGM play. These findings support the effectiveness of pop-up messages containing self-appraisal messages as an appropriate harm-minimization initiative.


Responsible gambling Warning signs Electronic gaming machines Pop-up messages Problem gambling 



The authors would like to extend that thanks to Ross Ferrar and the Australian Gaming Machine Manufacturer’s Association (AGMMA), now know as Gambling Technologies Association (GTA) for their support of this research. Grateful thanks are also expressed to the Menzies Foundation for their support of the primary author through the award of the Sir Robert Menzies Allied Health Postgraduate Scholarship.


  1. Abbott, M. (2007). Prospective problem gambling research: Contribution and potential. International Gambling Studies, 7, 123–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abbott, M., Volberg, R., & Roonberg, S. (2004). Comparing the New Zealand and Swedish national surveys of gambling and problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20, 237–258.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Abbott, M., Williams, M., & Volberg, R. (1999). Seven years on: A follow-up study of frequent and problem gamblers living in the community Report number two to the New Zealand Gaming Survey. Wellington: New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.Google Scholar
  4. Azmier, J. (2001). Gambling in Canada: Final report and recommendations. A report prepared for the Canada West Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2008 from
  5. Bailey, B., Konstan, J., & Carlis, J. (2001). The effects of interruptions on task performance, annoyance, and anxiety in the user interface. Proceedings of the IFIP TC-13 international conference on human–computer interactions, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  6. Bartram, L. (2001). Enhancing information visualization with motion. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.Google Scholar
  7. Blaszczynski, A., Ladouceur, R., Nower, L., & Shaffer, H. (2005). Informed choice and gambling: Principles for consumer protection. Report prepared for the Australian Gaming Council, Australia.Google Scholar
  8. Blaszczynski, A., Ladouceur, R., & Shaffer, H. (2004). A science-based framework for responsible gambling: The Reno model. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20, 301–317.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Blaszczynski, A., Sharpe, L., & Walker, M. (2001). The assessment of the impact of the reconfiguration of electronic gambling machines as harm minimisation strategies for problem gambling. Sydney: The University of Sydney Gambling Research Unit.Google Scholar
  10. Breen, H., Buultjens, J., & Hing, N. (2005). Evaluating implementation of a voluntary responsible gambling code in Queensland, Australia. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 3, 15–25.Google Scholar
  11. Breen, H., & Zimmerman, M. (2002). Rapid onset of pathological gambling in machine gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies, 18, 31–43.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Cantinotti, M., & Ladouceur, R. (2008). Harm reduction and electronic gambling machines: Does this pair make a happy couple or is divorce foreseen? Journal of Gambling Studies, 24, 39–54.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Clark, E., & Brock, T. (1994). Warning label location, advertising, and cognitive responding. In E. Clark, T. Brock, & D. Stewart (Eds.), Attention, attitude, and affect in responding to advertising (pp. 287–299). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  14. Cloutier, M., Ladouceur, R., & Sevigny, S. (2006). Responsible gambling tools: Pop-up messages and pauses on video lottery terminals. Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 140, 434–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Currie, S., Hodgins, D., Wang, J., el-Guebaly, N., Wynne, H., et al. (2006). Risk of harm among gamblers in the general population as a function of level of participation in gambling activities. Addiction, 101, 570–580.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Delfabbro, P. (2008). Australasian gambling review (3th ed.). Adelaide: Independent Gambling Authority of South Australia.Google Scholar
  17. Echeburua, E., Baez, C., & Fernandez-Montalvo, J. (1996). Comparative effectiveness of three therapeutic modalities in the psychological treatment of pathological gambling. Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 24, 51–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ferris, J., & Wynne, H. (2001). The Canadian Problem Gambling Index: Final report. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.Google Scholar
  19. Fischer, P., Krugman, D., Fletcher, J., Fox, B., & Rojas, J. (1993). An evaluation of health warnings in cigarette advertisements using standard marketing research methods: What does it mean to warn? Tobacco Control, 2, 279–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Floyd, K., Whelan, J., & Meyers, A. (2006). Use of warning messages to modify gambling beliefs and behavior in a laboratory investigation. Psychology of Addictive Behavior, 20, 69–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Focal Research. (2004). NS VL Responsible Gaming Features Evaluation: Final report. Nova Scotia, Focal Research Consultants Ltd.Google Scholar
  22. Gaboury, A., & Ladouceur, R. (1989). Erroneous perceptions and gambling. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 4, 411–420.Google Scholar
  23. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. (2000). Prevalence estimates of adolescent gambling: A comparison of the correlates associated with problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 227–251.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Hammond, D., Fong, G. T., McDonald, P. W., Cameron, R., & Brown, K. S. (2003). Impact of the graphic Canadian warning labels on adult smoking behaviour. Tobacco Control, 12, 391–395.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Hankin, J., Firestone, I., Sloan, J., Ager, J., Goodman, A., Sokol, R., et al. (1993). The impact of the alcohol warning label on drinking during pregnancy. Journal of Public Policy Market, 12, 10–18.Google Scholar
  26. Hing, N. (2003). An assessment of member awareness, perceived adequacy and perceived effectiveness of responsible gambling strategies in Sydney clubs. Retrieved May 16, 2004, from
  27. Hing, N. (2004). The efficacy of responsible gambling measures in NSW clubs: The gamblers’ perspective. Australian Gaming Council. Retrieved June 19, 2008 from:
  28. Hodgins, D. C., & el-Guebaly, N. (2000). Natural and treatment assisted recovery from gambling problems: Comparison of resolved and active gamblers. Addictions, 95, 777–789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hodgins, D. C., Wynne, H., & Makarchuk, K. (1999). Pathways to recovery from gambling problems: Follow-up from a general population. Journal of Gambling Studies, 15, 93–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales. (2004). Gambling: Promoting a culture of responsibility. Sydney: Authors.Google Scholar
  31. Johnston, W., & Dark, V. (1990). Selective attention. Annual Review of Psychology, 36, 43–75.Google Scholar
  32. Krugman, D., Fox, R., Fletcher, J., & Rojas, T. (1994). Do adolescents attend to warnings in cigarette advertising? An eye tracking approach. Journal of Advertising Research, 32, 39–52.Google Scholar
  33. Ladouceur, R., & Sevigny, S. (2003). Interactive messages on video lottery terminals and persistence in gambling. Journal of the National Association for Gambling Studies, 15, 45–50.Google Scholar
  34. Ladouceur, R., Sylvain, C., Boutin, C., Lachance, S., Doucet, C., Leblond, J., et al. (2001). Cognitive treatment of pathological gambling. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 189, 774–780.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Mazanov, J., & Byrne, D. (2007). Changes in adolescent smoking behaviour and knowledge of health consequences of smoking. Australian Journal of Psychology, 59, 176–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McMillen, J., & Wenzel, M. (2006). Measuring problem gambling: Assessment of three prevalence screens. International Gambling Studies, 6, 147–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Monaghan, S. (2004). Recall of legislated electronic gaming machine signs & irrational cognitions and beliefs regarding gambling. Unpublished honours dissertation, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.Google Scholar
  38. Monaghan, S. (2008). Review of pop-up messages on electronic gaming machines as a proposed responsible gambling strategy. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 6, 214–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Monaghan, S., & Blaszczynski, A. (2007). Recall of electronic gaming machine signs: A static versus a dynamic mode of presentation. Journal of Gambling Issues, 20, 253–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Monaghan, S., & Blaszczynski, A. (in press). Electronic gaming machine warning messages: Information versus self-evaluation. Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary & Applied.Google Scholar
  41. Morgan, T., Kofoed, L., Buchkoski, J., & Carr, R. D. (1996). Video lottery gambling: Effects on pathological gambling seeking treatment in South Dakota. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 451–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Morse, D. T. (1998). MINSIZE: A computer program for obtaining minimum sample size as an indicator of effect size. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 58, 142–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Neal, P., Delfabbro, P., & O’Neill, M. (2004). Problem gambling and harm: Working towards a national definition. Report prepared for the National Gambling Research Program Working Party, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  44. NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing. (2007). Prevalence of gambling and problem gambling in NSW—A community survey 2006: Final report. Accessed 10 Sept 2007 from
  45. Parker, R., Saltz, R., & Hennessy, M. (1994). The impact of alcohol beverage container warning labels on alcohol impaired drivers, drinking drivers and the general population in northern California. Addiction, 89, 1639–1651.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Petry, N. (2005). Pathological gambling: Etiology comorbidity and treatment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Powell, J., Hardoon, K., Derevensky, J., & Gupta, R. (1996). Gambling and risk taking behaviour amongst university students. In 10th national conference on gambling behavior, Chicago, IL, September 4, 1996.Google Scholar
  48. Price Waterhouse Coopers. (2005, June 22). Global entertainment and media outlook: 2006–2010—Industry preview. Retrieved May 28, 2007 from
  49. Productivity Commission. (1999). Australia’s gambling industries: Final report. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Google Scholar
  50. Raylu, N., & Oei, T. (2004). The Gambling Related Cognitions Scale (GRCS): Development, confirmatory factor validation and psychometric properties. Addiction, 99, 757–769.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Rodda, S., & Cowie, M. (2005). Evaluation of electronic gaming machine harm minimisation in Victoria: Final report). Melbourne, Australia: Office of Gaming and Racing, Victorian Government Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  52. Schaffer, H. (2005). From disabling to enabling the public interest: Natural transitions from gambling exposure to adaptation and self-regulation—Commentary. Addiction, 100, 1227–1230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schellink, T., & Schrans, T. (2002). Atlantic Lottery Corporation video lottery responsible gaming feature research: Final report. Halifax, NS: Focal Research Consultants.Google Scholar
  54. Shaffer, H., LaBrie, R., LaPlante, D., Nelson, S., & Stanton, M. (2004). The road less travelled: Moving from distribution to determinants in the study of gambling epidemiology. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 49, 504–516.Google Scholar
  55. Slutske, W., Jackson, K., & Sher, K. (2003). The natural history of problem gambling from age 18 to 29. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112, 263–274.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Steenbergh, T., Whelan, J., Meyers, A., May, R., & Floyd, K. (2004). Impact of warning and brief intervention messages on knowledge of gambling risk, irrational beliefs and behaviour. International Gambling Studies, 4, 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Steinberg, M. A., Kosten, T. A., & Rounsaville, B. J. (1992). Cocaine abuse and pathological gambling. American Journal on Addictions, 1, 121–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stucki, S., & Rihs-Middel, M. (2007). Prevalence of adult problem and pathological gambling between 2000 and 2005: An update. Journal of Gambling Studies, 23, 245–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Toneatto, T. (1999). Metacognition and substance abuse. Addictive Behaviors, 24, 167–174.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Toneatto, T., Blitz-Miller, T., Calderwood, K., Dragonetti, R., & Tsanos, A. (1997). Cognitive distortions in heavy gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13, 253–266.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Volberg, R., & Vales, P. (2002). Prevalence estimates of pathological gambling in Puerto Rico. Revista Puertorriquea de Psicóloga, 13, 71–98.Google Scholar
  62. Walker, M. (1992). The psychology of gambling. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  63. Wardle, H., Sproston, K., Orford, J., Erens, B., Griffiths, M., et al. (2007). British gambling prevalence survey 2007. London: National Centre for Social Research.Google Scholar
  64. Welte, J., Barnes, G., Wieczorek, W., Tidwell, M., & Parker, J. (2002). Gambling participation in the U.S.—Results from a national survey. Journal of Gambling Studies, 18(31), 3–337.Google Scholar
  65. Williams, R., & Connolly, D. (2006). Does learning about the mathematics of gambling change gambling behavior? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 20, 62–68.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychology, The University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations