The Influence of Casino Architecture and Structure on Problem Gambling Behaviour: An Examination using Virtual Reality Technology


  • Karen Finlay-Gough


Keywords: casino environment, environmental emotion, restoration, at-risk gambling, environmental psychology, multi methods


Abstract: The results of three studies are reported which were designed to provide converging evidence of the emotion and gambling behaviour that are induced by casino settings. Two overall macro casino designs were examined in this research: the playground design (high ceilings, spacious layout, the inclusion of elements of nature) and the gaming design (low ceilings, maze layout of machines, no extraneous décor). A conjoint study was conducted (n=275) that afforded the measurement of a number of décor variables in combination. Results confirmed that the propensity to gamble beyond planned levels and the level of restoration experienced are both higher for a playground casino than for a gaming casino; higher gambling was reported when travel distance to a casino was shorter; higher levels of restoration when a music soundtrack was played. Focus group research (n=24) provided rich descriptions of gambling settings, validating the provision of the desired overall macro designs and specific décor elements in casinos. Finally a study (n= 445) was conducted using virtual reality technology, a 360º Panoscope, which immersed participants in a casino settings varying in their overall macro design (playground versus gaming), the type of emotion (arousal versus pleasure) induced by a landing strip (entrance setting) and the inclusion of restorative images in the gambling setting. The findings were particularly dramatic for females exposed to a playground setting: gambling by females was more conservative in a playground setting, with positively‑valenced restorative images and with a pleasure‑inducing landing strip. For both males and females exposed to a gaming design, at‑risk gambling intentions were not influenced by landing strip and restorative image interventions. The different pattern of results yielded for at‑risk gambling intentions and restoration underscores the potential for research on casino environments to uncover less harmful design elements which have separate effects on these two variables.



1 Dec 2015