Central Queensland University conducted a study of the impact of skill-based gambling machines (SGMs) on gambling behavior to help regulators determine the way to handle these products.The study included different demographics and gambling attitudes to find that people playing electronic gaming machines are more likely to be attracted to SGMs, with non-gamblers more attracted to electronic games. The study also found that ”the inclusion of skill-based components in the game play is likely to strengthen the illusion of control” in SGMs.

Study Commissioned by Gambling Research Australia

The Central Queensland University’s study “The Skill-Based Gambling in Australia” was commissioned by Gambling Research Australia following the proliferation of such games in the US market in the past decade. As skill-based machines are seldom integrated in Australian clubs and casinos, the authorities commissioned the study to see the potential impact of a larger number of SGMs in Australian casino facilities. As IAG reports, “Pop Shots Witches Coven” is the only title currently approved in more than one Australian province.

Little Impact of Skill

Alison Parkinson, Director of the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling, reportedly said “Skill-based gambling machines represent a real change to how gaming machines operate. As with any new product, it’s important we understand whether these innovations may increase the risk of gambling harm. This study shows that skill has little impact on the outcome of these games, and that participants should be aware of their real chances of winning.”

”Illusion of Control”

According to the source, the advocates of skilled-game machine introduction aim to attract younger customers. But the study explained that the consumer’s illusion of control is derived from the finding that SGMs make the consumers believe they can influence the outcome of the game play rather than accept that the outcome is influenced by chance to a large extent. This factor, as well as other behavioral and psychological qualities of the player, may put them at risk to face problem gambling consequences.

‘Winning Edge” Substitute

As indicated above, the study reportedly found that SGMs mainly attract people who earlier played EGMs. The new players are more likely to choose electronic gaming machines, according to the study, but skill-based gambling machines reportedly also have significant potential to attract new players. Also, these games may be seen by some gamblers as a winning edge over the EGMs, according to the study. As IAG reports, younger people and people with gambling problems are likely to find all these games appealing.

Poor Understanding on Game Outcomes

The study reportedly unveiled: “Participants had a very poor understanding that skill has little actual impact on game outcomes for SGMs. Most participants overestimated, while the rest were unsure of, the degree to which skill influenced wins and losses. SGMs are likely to increase gambling harm because of these illusions of control and encourage repeated play among those already experiencing a gambling problem.”

Cautious Approach

It seems that the study will help regulators stay cautious about the introduction of these machines into the Australian jurisdictions as the study considers the skill-based gambling machines an inadequate model to combat problem gaming in the country.