Dr David Rowell presents at NAGS

On 23 September 2018, Dr David Rowell gave a talk at the 28th National Association of Gambling Studies (NAGS) annual conference at the Brisbane Sofitel.

Development of an Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) for an Experimental Trial (Rowell, D., Fooken, J., Gyrd-Hansen, D., Hare, S., & Blaszczynski, A.)


Gambling disorder (ICD-11 6C50) is associated with significant economic and social costs for the gamblers and their families. Australians lose approximately $12 billion per year gambling with electronic gaming machines (EGMs), of which, problem gamblers are reported to contribute to a significant proportion of these losses. Our aim is to develop an EGM prototype for use in an experimental trial, to identify the key EGM parameters, which affect the gambler’s stopping decision.

Video game designer (Morgan Casey) was commissioned to develop a bespoke EGM using the Unity video game engine and programmed with C#. Published probability accounting report (PAR) sheets for the Canadian EGM “Lobstermania” (Harrigan ‎2009) were modified and incorporated into our EGM. Key parameters; return to player (RTP) and volatility are a function of the PAR sheets. Spin time is set by the researcher. The salient features of our design are that the participants can (i) switch between games (ii) respond to electronic survey questions in real time, (iii) perform effort tasks to earn gambling credits and (iv) passively provide biometric data. Development of our prototype is ongoing.

Some results from Monte Carlo simulations derived from our proto-type are presented. The strengths and weakness of our EGM are discussed and directions for future research are outlined.


A better understanding of the EGM parameters that affect the pathological gambler’s stopping decision could, in the future, facilitate the development of effective harm minimization strategies for pathological gambling.

View presentation (PDF, 2.2 MB)

Last updated:
21 December 2018