Slots Near Misses Don’t Convince Gamblers to Keep Playing

Slots near misses have always been believed to keep gamblers spinning the reels. But new research suggests that this isn’t the case at all.

PhD graduate Jeffrey Pisklak and MSc graduate Joshua Yong, both from the University of Alberta, made this shocking discovery. They’ve debunked years of long-held beliefs that near misses are a driving force of slots play.

I’m going to discuss more on their findings. But first, I’ll cover more on near misses.

What Are Slots Near Misses?

A near miss can be defined in one of two ways. Firstly, it can be considered a close call on a payout.

For example, you might need three spaceships to get a qualifying payout. However, you land two spaceships and just miss the third one.

Secondly, a new miss can mean just barely missing a huge payout. You may need five Ferraris for a jackpot, for instance, and get 3-4 of them instead.

Conventional wisdom has always suggested that these near misses will encourage you to play longer. However, no solid research has ever backed these ideas up.

What the Study Reveals About Slots Near Misses

Pisklak and Yong examined the habits of pigeons for their slots study. They used pigeons because these are some of nature’s most-impulsive animals.

The team believed that these birds perfectly represent a problem gambler. They looked at if pigeons were more likely to continue pecking after nearly missing food.

Their findings show that these birds aren’t more likely to keep pecking after near misses. They believe that the same holds true for gamblers and near slots misses.

“Casinos are very effective at getting people to gamble their money for a plethora of reasons—it just happens to be the case that near misses may not be one of them for most people,” said Pisklak.

“The fact that we weren’t able to replicate the near-miss effect doesn’t mean that people are any less vulnerable to exploitation by other means.”