How electronic gambling machines work: Structural characteristics
The purpose of this paper is to provide policy makers, regulators and others with information about key design characteristics of electronic gambling machines (EGMs). These characteristics include auditory and visual cues, “game maths”, and price and prize structure. They also include elements in the games that render them attractive to EGM users, and which appear to be associated with the establishment of persistent game utilisation or addiction. It is hoped that a better understanding of these characteristics will help policy makers and regulators to frame policies and interventions that will reduce harm to gamblers from EGM use.
Dr Charles Livingstone is a gambling researcher. His interest is in the relationship between poker machine gambling and socio-economic disadvantage and health inequity, and in the development and implementation of relevant harm minimisation policies and strategies. He has also researched the structural characteristics of poker machines and the relationship of these, and the structure of gambling systems, to the development of gambling problems. His current research is focused on mechanisms of gambling industry influence in relation to public policy, and on regulatory issues around development of best practice gambling policy.
Charles was a member (2010–11) of the Australian Government’s Ministerial Expert Advisory Group on Gambling. His research has been funded by the Victorian Gambling Research Panel, the Independent Gambling Authority of South Australia, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Australian Research Council, local governments and primary care partnerships, the Victorian Department of Human Services, VicHealth, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Australian and New Zealand School of Government, UnitingCare Australia, and the Alliance for Gambling Reform Inc.
Charles is a member of the Public Health Association of Australia and provided submissions to the Productivity Commission’s two inquiries into gambling (1999 and 2010), as well as to numerous state and federal government Parliamentary inquiries and to members of parliament. He is a regular contributor to public debate on the issues of gambling reform.