Leveraging Crocodile Tourism

The Member for Kennedy has colourfully raised concerns about crocodile activity which has spread around the world. Yet again his numeracy appears to be somewhat exaggerated. However this did remind me of a recent 2017 Ignobel Award for: Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal

Tourists at the Koorana Saltwater Crocodile Farm in Coowonga, Queensland, Australia, including 62 males and 41 females, aged 18–66 (M = 34.2, SD = 13.3), were randomly assigned to play a laptop-simulated Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) either: (1) prior to entry, or (2) after having held a 1-m saltwater-crocodile. Gambling behavior; including bet-size, speed of betting, final payouts and trials played on the EGM; was investigated with respect to participants’ assigned arousal condition, problem-gambling status, and affective state. At-risk gamblers with few self-reported negative emotions placed higher average bets at the EGM after having held the crocodile when compared to the control. In contrast, at-risk gamblers with many self-reported negative emotions placed lower average bets at the EGM after having held the crocodile. The results suggest that high arousal can intensify gambling in at-risk players, but only if this feeling state is not perceived as a negative emotion.

At least one local operator appears to see some opportunity in this: Have some pots and swim with crocs at iconic Cairns pub. I’m not sure how this salubrious establishment renowned for its discerning clientele earned an “iconic” tag but it could provide an opportunity to test the research in a real world situation.

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