Inside Story of the Slot Players Mind

Have you ever wondered what attracts the high roller players to the spinning reels, flashing lights and ringing bells? Do they just pass their time or they have fun to a serious interest in hitting a jackpot. One thing that is common in them is their behaviours that keep them coming to casinos and enjoying games.

In 2012, researchers at Oregon University had published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management a new study called “Segmenting Slot Machine Players: A Factor-Cluster Analysis.” They closely examined “the motivation and behaviours of slot machine customers so that gaming-machine manufacturers and casino operators can continue to improve product development, service, and marketing to gaming customers.”

They had collected their data from the observations tracked and studied by various casino management and game developers, who are always eager to keep players coming back for more.

Also the data that was used came from an Internet survey about why players gambled. Questions ranged from how long and how often they played to what were their favourite slot games, their feelings toward themed slots, and attitudes regarding progressive jackpots. The 30-minute questionnaire was completed by 1,018 valid respondents, who ranked 37 potential reasons for choosing one slot machine over another.

It was quite interesting to find out that about 22 percent of such players gambled once a week or more, 45 percent played once or twice a month, and the others frequented slots once every two or three months.

According to this statistical technique and analysis that were in conjunction with the demographic, psychological and psychographic characteristics of slot machine players; there were four main groups that categorized the players.

  • Relaxed Players who simply want to escape
  • Excited Players who came just to seek thrill more than money.
  • Utilitarian Players who just enjoy playing with no special reason dominating
  • Multipurpose Players who liked everything, including the chance to win cash while relaxing and enjoying a little excitement.

Interestingly the findings proved that the Utilitarian and Excited groups tended to be dominated by women, while men skewed toward the Multipurpose and Relaxed clusters. In terms of affluence, the Excited Players had the highest income. Multipurpose had the lowest income, tended to be not so well educated and were more likely to be single, but they were less likely to own a home. Pensioners, meanwhile, were most common among the Utilitarian cluster.

Demographically the “average” slot players were in the range of “ 55 to 60 year-old, that were female homeowner with at least some college education and an annual household income of over $55,000.” That might seem surprising to some, but the new research is in line with earlier studies. In 2002, a University of San Francisco document entitled “The Relationship of Demographics to Gaming Preferences and Behaviour” indicated that people age 36-50 were most attracted to slot machine games and they were most likely married. A decade later, those players are age 46-60 and apparently still leading the pack.

Among other discoveries revealed by such research showed features that influence a player’s choice of game more than any other. The top five are “the machine’s denomination perceived chance of winning; level of fun; overall bet size; and ease of getting to a bonus round.” Oddly enough, progressive machines were reported to be of interest to only a third of respondents. Overall, the study seems to reinforce the stature of slot play as primarily a form of entertainment rather than a gambling activity focused on financial gain.