Gambling play management systems are preventative tools used to keep patrons within set budget limits. PlayMyWay is the first used within a casino setting with the US, described as “innovative budgeting tool designed to allow customers the ability to monitor the amount of money they spend on electronic gaming machines, and to inform their decision to continue or stop play” (Tom et al., 2017).
Dr. Timothy Edson and fellow researchers set out to examine gambling patrons’ attitudes toward PlayMyWay, the gambling play management system deployed at Plainridge Casino in Massachusetts (Edson et al., 2021).
Dr. Edson and his team examined patrons’ reported use of PlayMyWay and attitudes toward the system. They surveyed a sample of Marquee Rewards cardholders, which included demographics, questions based on the PlayMyWay system and gambling behaviors. Participants were labeled as “enrolled”, “un-enrolled”, and “never enrolled”. Enrolled and un-enrolled participants were further classified in to one group “ever-enrolled”. Ever-enrolled participants, either currently enrolled or previously enrolled, were asked to report their personal response to notification sent by the system, possible emotions they may have felt upon receiving notifications, and whether they would recommend PlayMyWay to others. Additionally, they were asked to complete a Systems Usability Scale to measure ease of use of the program. Gambling behaviors were also assessed, including how often the patrons’ visited the casino and the results of a Brief Biosocial Gambling Scale (BBGS) (Gebauer et al., 2010) screening to assess any possible gambling issues.
Why is this Important?
Play management systems, such as PlayMyWay have the potential to be a necessary responsible gambling tool within casinos, but there is a dearth of research that examines users’ attitudes towards it. At the time of publication, studies that examined play management systems reported mixed results on efficacy of reducing play time and gambling limits when at the casino. Additionally, the attitudes of users towards these systems remain unknown. This study seeks to fill these gaps in research by assessing user’s attitudes toward PlayMyWay and hopes to use these results to improve the system.
What did they find?
The researchers were able to extract some important findings from their survey, despite a majority of the participants having never used PlayMyWay. They found that users not enrolled despite knowing about the PlayMyWay system, reported that they did not believe they needed the reminders and warnings. Generally, users of the system found it easy to use, but reported that they paid little attention to the notifications and tended to react negatively to them. Finally, users who screened positive on the BBGS were more likely to un-enroll, less likely to report that they needed the notification from the program, and were more likely to respond negatively to notifications than those that tested negative on the BBGS scale.
Authors of this study reported low generalizability, as only 1.5% of the survey population participated in this study after being contacted. Additionally, these patrons are only a small sample from one casino and the results should be taken to represent only this one small population and not all casino patrons. Additionally, responses from users are subject to biases caused by falsification of responses, recall bias, faulty memory, and other miscomprehension.
Edson, T., Tom, M. A., & LaPlante, D. (2021). Examining player engagement with and attitudes toward a gambling play management system.Journal of Gambling Studies, Epub: ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-021-10002-9
Gebauer, L., LaBrie, R., & Shaffer, H. J. (2010). Optimizing DSM-IV-TR classification accuracy: A brief biosocial screen for detecting current gambling disorders among gamblers in the general household population.Canadian Journal of Psychiatry,55(2), 82–90.
Tom, M., Singh, P., Edson, T., LaPlante, D., & Shaffer, H. (2017).Preliminary study of patrons’ use of the PlayMyWay play management System at Plainridge Park Casino: June 8, 2016-January 31, 2017. Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance.