Exposure to free-play modes in simulated online gaming increases risk-taking in monetary gambling

Tahnee Frahn, Paul Delfabbro, Daniel L. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the behavioral effects of practice modes in simulated slot machine gambling. A sample of 128 participants predominantly aged 18–24 years were randomly allocated to 1 of 4 pre-exposure conditions: control (no practice), standard 90 % return to player, inflated return to player and inflated return with pop-up messages. Participants in all conditions engaged in monetary gambling using a realistic online simulation of a slot machine. As predicted, the results showed that those players exposed to inflated or ‘profit’ demonstration modes placed significantly higher bets in the real-play mode as compared to the other groups. However, the groups did not differ in relation to how long they persisted in the real-play mode. Pop-up messages had no significant effect on monetary gambling behavior. The results of this study confirm that exposure to inflated practice or “demo” modes lead to short-term increases in risk-taking. These findings highlight the need for careful regulation and monitoring of internet gambling sites, as well as further research on the potential risks of simulated gambling activities for vulnerable segments of the gambling population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1531-1543
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Early online date15 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Internet gambling
  • Pathological gambling
  • Payout rates
  • Slot machines


Dive into the research topics of 'Exposure to free-play modes in simulated online gaming increases risk-taking in monetary gambling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this