How gaming machines can have emotional impact

Gaming machines often feature a large sign attached to the top of them, advertising the biggest jackpot that can be won in any one game – which is now £100 on the more modern pub machines and up to £400 on club machines.

 But is the chance of monetary reward the greatest motivating factor in deciding whether or not people put their coin in the slot?

 According to a study in the July 2014 edition of the Journal of Gambling Studies, financial profit is probably not the motivation for the majority of players.

 Instead, there are lots of emotional reasons why gamblers play pub and club fruit machines.

 “Comparison of the competing models revealed that gambling for the chance to win money was not the most prominent motivation,” the researchers write.

 Rather, they found that many people perceive gambling as an escape, a source of excitement, a social event and even a way to feel more self-important.

 Many of these motivations can be found in other pastimes, such as competitive sport, which surprisingly could suggest that the same driving forces lead people to play on pub pool tables as on slot machines.

Gaming machines perform well on ‘price elasticity of demand’

Gaming machines are among the best performers in the UK betting and gaming market on the economic measure of ‘price elasticity of demand’.

This is a principle that is used to estimate how much an increase in price might reduce demand – and therefore profits – so retailers and operators know what price point will maximise their earnings.

HM Revenue & Customs recently published a study of much of the UK market for different types of gambling, from lottery draws and scratchcards to bingo, and from the betting and pools markets to online gambling.

Gaming machines were included amongst the different categories – and proved to be one of the best performers on price elasticity of demand.

HMRC found that a 1% increase in bingo prices or in terrestrial betting shops leads to a 1% decrease in demand from gamblers.

But among more modern forms of gambling, such as remote betting (including online and mobile) and gaming machines, the drop in demand is only half as much.

This offers much greater opportunity to drive profits – and shows why premium £1 per play titles can work alongside 50p games on the same machine, without either having a negative effect on overall profits.

A successful World Cup for gaming machines

England’s World Cup campaign may not have gone to plan, but there’s plenty of reasons why gaming machines are likely to have benefited – and may continue to do so until the final is played.

Figures from Halifax show how Britons engaged with their finances during the first England match, with cash machine withdrawals down by 25% while the match itself was being played.

Online banking transactions also dropped – but crucially, this effect was not so great, as many Brits are now comfortable with multi-tasking, accessing their online banking on a smartphone or tablet while watching the match on TV.

What does all this have to do with gaming machines? Well one of the other figures quoted by Halifax was a massive 267% surge in gambling transactions just before kick-off.

And with England’s early exit in the group stages, many of these gamblers will still be looking for a win.

With plenty of matches still to come – many of which will not attract devoted attention from pubgoers – and a penchant for viewing multiple screens at once, it’s likely more will look to gaming machines for an instant payout, as they seek to salve the wounds opened by England’s first-round defeat.

An immersive theatre experience set around a pub pool table

A piece of so-called ‘promenade theatre’ in Manchester’s Ancoats district sees small groups of audience members taken through a series of settings, including a scene featuring a pub pool table.

Angel Meadow opened on June 10th and runs until June 29th, an ANU Productions feature attached to Manchester’s HOME arts project.

It challenges the audience to not just look back to some of the city’s darker past, but to actually engage in it, interacting with the characters as part of an immersive performance.

The general setting for this performance is an old pub – a typical city ‘boozer’ of generations past – which is populated with the characters you might expect to find within.

Audience members are invited to interact at various points throughout the performance, and at times this is a deliberately discomfiting invitation.

This means visitors might find themselves leaning over a pub pool table to play a shot, with the character of an abusive husband as their opponent.

It is a deliberately thought-provoking show, which does not dwell on the past, but rather acts as a reminder of how much more civilised the city has become, and is an undeniably artistic use for a pub pool table.