DR. HARRIGAN: This is a game called Lucky
Larry’s Lobstermania, which is very similar
to a lot of games that are available in Ontario,
and on this game you can wager on multiple
lines or ways of winning.
Down at the bottom, on the left, we see the
balance that you have in the machine,
we see the base wager of the machine, which
in this case is 50 cents.
We see the number of lines wagered and the
credits per line. In this case it’s 15 lines,
1 credit per line. So, we have a total wager
of 15 credits.
On this spin we didn’t win, so our amount
won is 0.
An important point is what happens after you
spin the reels. We’ll just look at a few spins
here, and you’ll see that if you lose it goes
into a state of quiet in the visual and auditory
domains, and if you win you see animated graphics
and hear the winning sounds.
Something we’re finding interesting from a
research perspective is the situation that
we call a ‘Loss Disguised as a Win’. And that’s
the situation where the number of credits
won, 4 in this case, is less than the credits
wagered. So, you’ve actually lost money but
we’re still seeing the winning graphics, and
when the reels stopped we heard the winning
On this game, the losses disguised as wins
are quite frequent, in fact they happen more
often than regular wins. On about 14% of the
spins, you get a regular win, and
on about 18% of the spins you get one of these
‘Losses Disguised as Wins’.
Our research team is quite interested in the
effect on the player of these Losses Disguised
as Wins because they’re so frequently being
exposed to these winning graphics and winning
sounds, when in fact they’re in a losing situation.
As one industry employee said, “positive reinforcement
hides losses,” and we’re interested in that
and what this positive reinforcement is doing
to the player.