An Analysis of Free Slot Games Players

  • gambling-explanation
Tudor Lodge

The online slot gaming industry has already proven itself to be a massive revenue generator for the entire world economy. To back this up, recent studies reveal that slot games account for almost 70% of all the activity in virtually all online casinos. It is imperative now more than ever to try and understand casino slot players and the games that they play. In this article, we will investigate the overall behavior of free slots no download gamers. Some of the things we will investigate include the things that influence slot gamers choices, their attitude towards progressive slot machines, and the influence of game themes on players.

Most people prefer slots over any other form of gambling

Prior to the internet age, the most common form of gambling was to play the lottery. This remains popular today, and millions across the United States and around the world bet on the Mega Millions every week, tempted by the immense jackpots on offer. However, lottery-style games have now been joined by an ever-growing range of slots and table games at online casinos.

Online casinos did not exist a decade ago. Even in this era, land-based slot machines still dominated over 70% of the gambling activity on any land-casino floor. A 2011 report from the American Gaming Association showed that there were over 854000 slots in only 39 states of America. Even more interesting, 84680 of these were stationed on non-casino venues.

The land casino boom period is now long gone. Innovation and technology have led to the emergence of online-based slot machines. Unlike the non-sophisticated oldies, the online slot machines feature a more interactive game concept, graphics, and more detail. As you would expect, slot fanatics love the new, sophisticated online slot machines even more.

It’s being done for the first time!

As the online slots gambling industry continues to grow, more research has been subjected to it now more than ever. However, very little research investigating the segmentation of online slot players has been done. Most research has been carried out by individual casinos who only attempt to classify their audiences according to the slot game titles that they play. Even so, this data is not shared with third parties out of privacy concerns.

For the first time, we will try to analyze the demographics, motivation, & behavior of online slot machine players, why they choose certain games over others, their perception of progressive jackpot slots, and the influence of game themes on slot players. This will be made possible by analyzing the casino environment itself, individual players’ personality traits, gambling motivation, and the effects (problem gambling).

Effect of personality traits on slots gambling

A study carried out earlier on land-based slot machines proved that all slot players are not the same. Each player has his/her own personality traits that directly influence the slots playing session. The study revealed some quite interesting facts that might still apply to the current online slots world.

The study revealed that there was more innate action in the players than just the lever pulling action. Based on comparison with players who preferred other forms of gambling such as cards and sports, it was clear that slot players were less competitive and not primarily motivated by basic needs. Instead, they were motivated more by upper-hierarchy material needs driven by impulsiveness.

Based on Cattel’s 16 personality theory it was concluded that slot players interacted more with the gaming session than the rest of the players. The motivation behind this was plainly the need to change their lives through the winnings rather than just make something little to get by.

To further prove this claim, data collected from observation showed that slot players were mostly low-income earners.

In the online slots dimension, slots’ gambling is not any different. Online slots give more reason for players to engage in the sport due to the privacy, flexibility, and better gaming experience that comes with it. This is in addition to the fact that online slot players have more to worry about rather than just pulling the lever.

Unlike traditional slot machines that were based more on the random generation of numbers, modern slots are based on skill to some extent. This means that the players are likely to be more fixated on mastering their skills so that they can make more winnings.

Effect of the casino environment on slots gambling

Several researchers have attempted to analyze the effect of the casino environment on the slots players. Several of these researchers who based their research on land-based slots found out that the slot games sounds, the theme, lighting, noise, and availability of fresh air had a direct effect on the casino player. Those casinos with likable atmospheric elements attracted more visitors than those that did not. This is because the players were more likely to visit the casino again and also probably put in a positive recommendation of the casino to their friends and family.

This also applies to the online slots industry that has seen a larger fan-base than land casino slots. This is because the online slots can be played from anywhere meaning that the player can choose his/her own level of comfort.

Problem Gambling

Online slots are superior in terms of components such as graphics and the concept of play than the land-based slots. The higher level of entertainment has led to higher rates of problem gambling than ever.

In fact, recent studies prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the high incidence of problem gambling is directly attributable to the growing advancement in slot machines, made possible by the online slot revolution. Although other studies suggest otherwise, the majority of them indicate that some machines are indeed responsible for slot machine addiction.

To further discredit the work of those who believe otherwise, other studies have been able to prove that:

·         Exciting casino game music encourages most players to keep on playing even after they lose a substantial amount of money

·         A near win illusion created by the game encourages the player to have another go

·         Irrational thinking. Majority of players, especially the poverty-stricken, are influenced by certain factors to keep on gambling even if they keep losing. A good example is when a player personifies a slot machine, usually observed when the player talks to or bangs on the device being used to play the slot. This trait was observed more in high rollers (those who bet huge amounts of cash)

All in all, not all the gamblers have reported cases of problem gambling. The effect of slot features such as higher volatility, wins, and more pay lines on the slot player can, however, not be undermined.

Slot Gambling Motivation

In the past, very little research has been done to investigate the factors motivating slot players. This is despite the fact that several studies have revealed that slot players are more motivated to participate in their sport than the players in other categories. A study carried out in 2005, for instance, revealed that slot players scored higher in motivation parameters such as stimulation, prestige, and relief after playing the games.

Another recent study carried out in 2009 revealed that slot players had more solid motivation factors other than money. These factors included a search for happiness, escape from daily stress & pressures, and low self-esteem.  All the studies seemed to agree on one thing, though, happiness was the most sought after motivating factor for the slot players. Other motivators for more experienced slot players included things such as recovering money lost in previous bets.

Some people prefer table games over slot games. Why?

In some jurisdictions such as China, table games are more prevalent than slot games. This is quite contradicting as you would expect the norm to apply everywhere around the world.

For most of these jurisdictions, this choice is mostly influenced by cultural beliefs which must, without a doubt, be respected. According to a recent study carried out in one of the casinos in China, the residents view gambling more as a business opportunity rather than just entertainment. This is in the sense that the winning odds are higher in table games and the fact that table games present more interaction opportunities with other people. In that way, the residents believe that they might make more money and also get a chance to network with influential businesses people. Slots, on the other hand, are a solitary affair and does not provide for such opportunities.

Thanks to this research in China, Macau specifically, more reasons as to why people are motivated to play slot games were revealed. While table game players were more oriented to the business during their playing sessions, slot players had other goals such as killing time, winning, happiness, relief from pressure, or simply just trying out the slot game.

How Do We Segment gamblers?

Previous studies have all attempted to classify gamblers in general rather than slot players only. This is despite the fact that online slot players constitute the larger majority of all the gamblers combined. The importance of all these previous studies can, however, not be underestimated because they have provided a basis for the segmentation of online slot players.

One such study compared the behavior of staunch gamblers to those who do not gamble at all. Their specific demographic revealed quite some interesting facts when their attitude towards escorted group tours was analyzed. It was revealed that the gamblers were more motivated to participate in the group tours more so because of the gambling aspect of the tour. Behavior wiser, the gamblers also spent less time planning for the tour and it was observed that the group consisted more of old participants.

The study was concluded by segmenting players into four major groups which include:

·         High centrality gambling

For these players, playing casino games was a major part of their lives

·         High-enjoyment gambling

For these players, the entertainment part of casino gaming was very important for them

·         High self-expression gambling

Gambling for this category of players was more of an identity activity. It was a way of being oneself and doing what they enjoy doing most.

·         Low gambling involvement

These players had little interest in gambling activities.

As good as the classification was, it only attempted to classify gamblers in general. For the first time, we will apply a research methodology aimed at segmenting the online slot players.

Segmenting online slot players

Investigating individual players is imperative when you want to understand free slot game players.  For this reason, internet-based methods such as online questionnaires must be employed. Most importantly, the sample used must represent online slot players on a global scale.

Having met all these conditions with our methodology, we have some quite interesting facts for you. Also important to mention, the data collected was backed up by previous studies that prove that the behavior of online slot players remains consistent for a very long period of time.

Questions used to segment the slot players

Questions used to segment the players were separated into three parts. The first section consisted of general questions such as what type of game was played, for how long, and how much they gambled. Section two delved deeper by asking questions such as what effect free slot features had on their gaming choice, if the game theme was important, and their general perception of progressive slots. The last section focused on demographics such as age, gender, level of education, marital status, and income.

Results

General demographics

Our study revealed that 52% of the respondents were female and mean & median age of 55 and 56 years old respectively. The largest group, falling between 55 and 64 years took up 39% of all the respondents. Older respondents consisted of 16% of the respondents.

72% of the respondents were married. Singles accounted only for 11.9% of the population under study.

Education wise, 21% had a high school diploma or its equivalent. 40.4% had a college/associates degree and 38.6% had a 4-year university degree.  

More than 88% of the population had their own homes.

Slots gambling behavior

Among the free slot players, 58% of them were more oriented to playing video slots. 41%, on the other hand, played reel slots.

The most popular denomination that was wagered was 25 cents (39% of respondents). 21.9% of them wagered at least a dollar while 19.4% of the population wagered 5 cents more frequently.

More than 60% of the respondents also held that they would prefer lesser, frequent winnings to large infrequent payouts.

Period Length and frequency

77.5% of the respondents spent 1-6 hours playing their favorite free slot. Frequency wise, free slot players were categorized into three main categories which were heavy (at least once a week), medium (once or twice a month), and light (four times a year). 22% of the players fell in the heavy frequency category, 44.7% in the medium category, and 33.5% of the responders in the light frequency category.

This section also revealed that more players preferred games with the denominations that they wanted to play & within one’s budget, those that had better chances of winning, those that didn’t require the player to break a budget to enter the bonus round, and those that were fun to play.

Progressive Jackpot Machines

In this type of slot machines, a percentage of each player’s wage contributes to a prize pool hosted from several machines or even multiple casinos.  Among the respondents, only 33% of them played progressive slot games. 6.6% of them couldn’t really answer yes or no while 60.2% responded with a big NO.

Among those who played the progressive games, 56.3% of them admitted that their choice was influenced by both the size of the jackpot and how much that they were winning on each session. 54.2% of them preferred the progressive sessions with a starting prize pool of at least $20000.

68.9% also admitted that the participating denomination also mattered with 36% of the respondents preferring 25 cents, 25.3% preferring 1 cent, 17.3% preferring 5 cents, and 9.3% preferring a dollar.

Effect of the game theme

18.9% of the respondents thought that the theme was a very important component of the slot game. 56.8% of these would prefer a movie-based theme, 60.8% a show gamed theme, and the rest, a board theme.

Free slots cluster groups based on sets of variables

Based on our research, free slot gamblers fall under 5 factors which are:

1.               Ego-driven free slot players

For these players, the reason for playing free slots was mostly ego-driven. This means that they only did so not out of their own motive but for how other people see them. A show off of playing skills would be very common with this type of players. It basically represents the self as well as the inspirational motivations for gaming.

2.               Learning/Evaluating

Players here feel that learning new skills and assessing one’s ability to master them is very important. This represents the need to deeply rationalize an experience with the purpose of obtaining new knowledge as well as evaluating one’s learning capabilities.

3.               Relaxation

This factor described those free slot players with a need for tension relief or an escape from stressing reality.  It represents the hedonic need for “escape” or just relaxation.

4.               Financial awards players

These players played primarily for the financial benefit that comes with it.

5.               Excitement

Players here are just looking for a form of entertainment when playing free slots. It represents a desire for excitement.

Cluster analysis of free slot players

This approach uses the five factors above, as well as the preference, demographic, and behavioral data obtained.

Using factor-cluster segmentation, the respondents were classified into four distinct groups. Let us look at the characteristics of each:

Cluster 1: Utilitarian

This is the smallest group taking up only 19.8% of the sample. It the oldest group of people with the highest household income. The high percentage of light gamblers (18.3%) indicates that utilitarians may be motivated by other factors such as kill time and socialization.

Players in cluster 1  prefer slot machines with the denomination that they want to play, do not care about the theme of the machine, and also do not care if it is a progressive machine or not.

Cluster 2: Excitement

This is the largest group taking up 27.5% of the sample. Females dominate the cluster (58.95%) with 21% of them being under the age of 45. The group has the lowest percentage of heavy gamblers (19.3%).

Players here prefer bets within their budget, do not care about the theme, play less often than the other clusters, and over half of them do not play progressive slots. They, however, have higher income and spend more than all the other clusters

Cluster 3: Multipurpose

They constitute 27.1% of the sample. It is dominated by males (55.1%), has the lowest reported income, and has the highest percentage of high gamblers.

Players here prefer games that they like to play, those with high chances of winning, and those with bets that are within their budget. They also do not care about the theme of the game and a larger percentage of them do not play progressives (61%)

Cluster 4: Relaxation

They constitute 25.5% of the population. There are more males (51.5%) than females. The majority enjoy dollar machines (22%).

Plays prefer games that they enjoy playing and those that have the denominations that they want to play.

Summary

The typical free slot player is more likely to be a female between 55 and 60 years old, has a college education, and a homeowner with a household income of more than $50000. The majority of the players are also medium to light players.

The most important factors influencing a players choice of a slot game was the available denominations, fun-level, winning chances, the bet size, and the amount required to enter the bonus round. Only 33% of the respondents showed interest in playing progressive machines. The decision of 56.3% of these players was influenced by the amount being contested for and the frequency of wins during the game session.

The four-cluster segmentation proves that the free slot market is non-homogenous. Each slot player is different in terms of the motivating factors which places each free slot game player in one of the clusters.

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