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Understanding the player's journey at online casinos: 6 influences and triggers

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Understanding the player's journey at online casinos can help change the way the world sees gambling and find ways to help those at risk.

Online gambling has been around for many years, and since the very first casino opened its virtual doors, players have been placing bets.

Safer gambling organisations, casinos and regulators all want to know more about the psychology behind online gambling – what makes players tick. And more than anything else, how can gambling be as safe as possible?

Recently, the UKGC released interesting data that revealed the typical "player's journey" at online casinos. This data was tracked to help find ways to understand players better and how to make sure that players are safe.

The data was collected via in-depth interviews with gamblers spanning over two weeks. When correlated, it was found that 6 prominent influences, triggers, and experiences affect the choices players make. Knowing more about these triggers is important for players and organisations hoping to minimise player harm.

Path to play – 6 interesting factors to consider

Take a look at the following triggers and influences that may change how or when you play at online casinos. Do you recognise any of them in how you play? It's believed that these points follow each other in sequence to affect your overall gambling experience.

1. Passive influences – The first step is all about how players feel about gambling. These influences evolve from what our parents thought about gambling to how we perceive those who gamble. Passive influences may affect whether you choose to gamble at all, and this is why it is the start of the Path to Play framework.

Interesting fact: Did you know that winning a significant amount of money while gambling had the largest impact on passive influences? Whether previously winning money personally or just hearing about someone else winning, big wins are a big drawcard.

2. External triggers – Provided by media, ads, or even conversations with friends who spend their time gambling, these triggers are external.

While they may not prompt anyone to sign up at an online casino immediately, external triggers like this may plant the seed that gets you interested.

3. Internal impulses – Once external triggers have planted the seed, internal impulses may nudge you to consider gambling. These impulses will probably provide reasons why it's a good idea, provide motivation and consider factors such as skill, luck etc. Internal impulses are what drive most interactions, including shopping and other forms of entertainment.

Fun fact: Data revealed that the top internal impulses shared by those in the study were the "chance to win even a small amount of money" and "to have fun".

4. Active search – Now that both the external and internal triggers have been considered, the time to search for a place to play begins. These choices are not made flippantly for the most part. It can happen in stages and may include a range of trial and error interactions before settling on the right choice.

For those who have never gambled before, this active search will consist of deciding where to play and what to play. If a player chooses to use a mobile app, this may be done because of an ad or app recommendation.

If choosing an online casino, this could be done via a Google search of a friend's invite. The active search stage has many layers and may be completed quickly, or it could take a fair amount of time.

5. Play experience – When all the previous steps have been completed, it's time to play. One of the many reasons this step is important is because it will help form the decision to keep playing or not.

The play experience considers the number of bets placed, the length of time played, the games played, and more. It's also interesting to see that ads during gameplay could affect whether you keep playing or decide to try a new product.

6. Play outcome – The final step in the gambler's journey is the outcome of a play. Whether you've won or lost, whether you felt frustrated or enjoyed every bet, these factors help decide if you'll play again or walk away forever. The outcome of the games played will have an impact on both the short-term and long-term experience of gambling.

Did you know – When asked what affected their time playing, study participants shared that winning a game or bet and having loads of fun were very important.

Now that you know more about these factors, you may see unhealthy triggers in how you play. Remember, gambling should always be about entertainment and fun! If you ever feel that your experience has changed in this regard, reach out to a safer gambling organisation for help.

Published: June 27, 2022

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Article by Stelly

CasinoWow Contributor

Hey there! I am Stelly, and happily, I'm part of CasinoWow's content team. It excites me to be able to write and share with all gambling enthusiasts unbiased reviews and news that contribute to the gambling community and industry. Thankfully, I also have the chance to help you make an informed choice for casino brands and games, as well as provide interesting guides and news.

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