In April 2005, the province of Nova Scotia partnered with Techlink to pilot a card-based player management tool for VLTs. The goal was to determine if Responsible Gaming features could be of value to VLT players. Techlink’s Responsible Gaming Device, now called Gameplan™, was the system used in the field research.
Two independent research firms, in addition to leading researcher, Dr. Bo Bernhard, Director of Gambling Research at the International Gaming Institute (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), were commissioned to conduct and assess this groundbreaking research.
The field trial and research was conducted over an 18-month period. Features that were tested included:
- Account Summary
- Live Action tool
- Money Limits feature
- 48-hour Stop feature
- A permanent clock
- Pop-up reminders advising players how long they've been playing
- A cash display showing actual money wagered instead of credits
- Mandatory cash-out.
Overall, results were positive. Highlights of the research include:
- Players and the public in the test area strongly supported making these features available to VLT players.
- Players said the features encouraged responsible play and helped them set a budget and stick to it.
- Players who gambled more were more likely to use the features.
- Players felt the features gave them more control over their spending and playing.
- 71% of all regular players tried the features (Account Summary, Live Action, Money Limits, Play Limits, 48 Hour Cool Down).
- About half (48%) of regular VLT players kept using the features after they had tried them.
- Use of the features helped players to reduce the amount they spent each time but they played longer indicating they made better decisions about when to stop.
- There was a positive impact detected for lower-risk and moderate-risk players, which was consistent with the objective of assisting players to make more informed decisions about their gambling in order to help prevent future problems.
- There were no negative impacts found for use of any of the features during the six-month trial.
The full research reports by Omnifacts Bristol, Focal Research, and Dr. Bo Bernhard ar available for download:
Dr. Bernard Research Report
Focal Research Report
Omnifacts Bristol Research Report
Research Project Overview