Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 63–72 | Cite as

Gambling on Electronic Gaming Machines is an Escape from Negative Self Reflection

  • Matthew J. Rockloff
  • Nancy Greer
  • Carly Fay
  • Lionel G. Evans
Original Paper


An experiment tested whether thinking about oneself, particularly in negative terms, increases gambling intensity on Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs). Forty male and 65 Female participants, aged 18–76 (M = 46.2, SD = 15.3), were recruited through newspaper advertisements to play a laptop simulated EGM in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. Prior to play, subjects in the test conditions audio tape-recorded 2 min of self reflection on either: (1) “things you like about yourself,” or (2) “things you don’t like about yourself.” Immediately after the recordings, the subjects played an EGM that was programmed (rigged) with five wins in the first 20 spins, and indefinite losses thereafter. Participants gambled more intensively in terms of Average Bet Size, Number of Trials Played, and Speed of Betting in the negative self reflection condition compared to the control condition. The experiment supports the proposition that EGM gambling behavior is motivated by escape from negative self reflection.


Gambling Pathological Gambling Poker Fruit Slot Self Esteem 



This research was supported by a grant from the Queensland Treasury Department, Australia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Rockloff
    • 1
  • Nancy Greer
    • 1
  • Carly Fay
    • 1
  • Lionel G. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Health and Social Science ResearchCentral Queensland UniversityBundabergAustralia

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