Structural characteristics of video lotteries: effects of a stopping device on illusion of control and gambling persistence

Robert Ladouceur, Serge Sévigny
Journal of Gambling Studies 2005, 21 (2): 117-31
Two studies investigated the effects of a video lottery terminal stopping device on gamblers' thoughts and behavior. This structural characteristic allows players to voluntarily stop the spinning of the reels. The first study investigated the effect of this device on the development of illusions of control. It was predicted that players using the stopping device would believe that (1) symbols displayed could differ depending on when the game is stopped, (2) there is a possibility of controlling the outcome of the game, (3) skills may be a factor influencing the results, and finally (4) a stopping device would improve the probability of personal success (i.e., developing the illusion of control). The second study aimed to further evaluate the effects of the stopping device on gambling behavior. It was hypothesised that using the stopping device would encourage players to increase the number of games played in a session. Results confirmed all predictions and showed that offering a stopping device on video lottery terminals modifies gamblers' cognition and behavior. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed in the context of responsible gambling policies.

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