User centred design in the pub

I was amused to see the front page of my local paper, the Manly Daily, had a story about the customisation of pokies (slot machines to most non-Australians). It is all a result of smoking bans in pubs that is coming in to force very soon in NSW.

Australian’s love pokies. I read somewhere that 1/10th of the world’s slot machines are in NSW. So the smoking ban could be a big problem.

The factors at play here (from what I understand as a non-pokie player) are that:

  1. People like putting a lot of money into the machines.
  2. A machine becomes lucky/gets hot/pays out big once in a while.
  3. Players are reluctant to leave a machine they’ve put quite a bit of money into because they feel the machine is just about to pay out big (!).
  4. Many pokie players love to smoke.

The solution? Simple. Put a new feature into the machines that enables people to lock them for 12 minutes while they go out for a smoke.
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If you are so inclined, you can read the full story at the Manly Daily website.

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