The nature of the association between Electronic Gambling Machines (EGMs) and gambling problems remains uncertain. Eye-tracking offers a potentially powerful method to understand how individuals attend to the visual displays and features of machine games as a function of machine experience, use of other
commercial gambling products, the degree to which some game features capture players attention and, critically, vulnerability to problematic patterns of machine play. Characterizing machine players' attention to machine games may aid the design of harm-minimization measures such as, but not limited to, pop-up messages and visible clocks; and provide an important ancillary measure for testing their efficacy.
Here, we conducted the first study to use eye-tracking to improve our understanding of how machine players attend to EGM displays in local bookmaker offices (LBOs) situated across North West England, as well as North East and North Wales. Through liaison with 4 bookmaker operators, we recruited a sample of 118 LBO customers who, first, completed a small number of questionnaires about their gambling history and other gambling activities and, then, completed a typical machine gambling session with their own
money while wearing eye-tracking glasses to capture eye-movement pattern. The protocol captured regions of gaze fixation while playing (B2) roulette or (B3) slots on B category machines (Gambling Commission, 2012). The final dataset consisted of 91 eye-tracking recordings: 59 games of roulette and 57 slots games.