near-winsWe have all experienced this type of feeling at one time or another.

  • Receiving 4 matching symbols out of 5 on a scratch card, your heart starts racing and your pulse increases… only to have that last symbol not match the rest.
  • Hearing the lottery numbers being called out one by one, getting all of them correctly, only to miss by one digit.
  • Seeing 2 cherry’s line up in a 3 reel slot, only to be ruined by a lemon.
  • Getting a 20 in black jack, only to have the dealer receive a 21.
  • Seeing a “wheel of fortune” spin and land just next to a big prize.

These are all examples of near-wins, and have always been thought of something that propelled regular gamblers to play more than they would if these near misses were not present. It  would seem almost like an obvious thing to point out that people may be influenced to keep on playing due to a near win, thinking the game may be “on the edge” or “warming up” in order to pay that big prize they are waiting for.

While part of that theory holds true, recent research suggests the experience of a near win is actually very frustrating instead to players, even more frustrating than a regular or other type of loss, where there is no near win factor involved. Instead of stopping the game however, most players actually hit the “spin” button quicker after these near wins are dealt to them, as proved in an experiment done by Canadian researchers and found at the following link:  Study confirms near-misses fuel Gambling Addiction

This study also found that when being dealt with progressively larger wins, players would take more time between each spin, resulting in them playing less and less games eventually.

It is still safe to say near wins are good for the house, since they propel individuals to either keep playing, or playing even quicker than they were before, both beneficial to the house. There are also other ways this can be implemented in a casino, such as a screen with a random jackpot based on tickets given for purchases, a “wheel of fortune” where people who are selected get to spin the wheel and win a potential prize, if they succeed. If they fail, however, they will still feel like they won something, even if it was just the illusion of an opportunity.