DR. HARRIGAN: A ‘near miss’ is broadly defined
as something that falls just short of success.
On a slot machine game, a near miss occurs
when you have the jackpot symbol on the payline
on the first two reels and just above or just
below the payline on the third reel.
As one author wrote, “Aw, shucks!
Just missed it!”
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
allows this type of near miss to occur up
to 12 times more often than it would occur
by chance alone.
This is a very serious concern for problem
gambling, as the outcome is being misrepresented
to the player.
Our published research used various sources,
including the transcripts of the Nevada Gaming
Commission’s 1980s hearings and more recent
slot machine design documents called PAR sheets,
to show that North American slot machine manufacturers
routinely create this type of near miss.
Our current research is a series of psychophysical
investigations of the effect that various
slot machine structural characteristics, including
near misses, have on the problem and non-problem
gambler. We are measuring arousal using heart
rate, galvanic skin response and pupil dilation.
We expect to have our results by the end of