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Electronic Gaming Machines and Problem Gambling
Responsible Gambling Council | Mar 16, 2007
In February 2006, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA), the organization which regulates all video lottery terminals (VLTs) and slot machines, made a commitment to review its policies regarding electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and problem gambling. To inform their review, SLGA asked the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) to conduct a broad-based exploration of key informant opinions regarding best practices in the management of EGMs.
Numerous studies have attempted to shed light on the nature of the relationship between EGMs and problem gambling. For the purpose of this report, the variables that have been examined in many of these studies are classified into three general areas:
- EGM features
- venue features
- community accessibility features
Using these three areas as its framework, this study assesses, via the opinion of various key informants, which features are most likely to contribute to problem gambling, and which modifications to these features are most likely to reduce EGM-related problem gambling risk.
As the report shows, key informants believed that certain features intrinsic to EGMs, such as the speed of play and appearance of near-misses, contribute to the risk of problem gambling. With respect to potential modifications, all key informant groups supported changes that did not directly involve the functioning of EGMs, but focused instead on the management of money, pre-commitment, the use of smart card technology, and restricting community access.