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‘Illusion of control’: What is the Randomizer and how can it help Mohawk College students?

Students playing the Randomizer on their phones.
Students in a rush to get to class could bypass the line by visiting theRandomizer.ca

The Responsible Gambling Council set up a table during common hour in the C-wing Atrium of Mohawk’s Fennell campus on Wednesday (Nov.15). Students could get bags of chocolate coins, pens, and information cards designed to help them limit some of the risks associated with gambling, before attempting a round on the Randomizer.  

According to Danielle Ayee of the Responsible Gambling Council, the Randomizer is a video game that was designed for young adults aged 18-24 to gauge their risk of developing a gambling problem.   

“It’s a three-level game that allows students to engage with us and experience the illusion of control,” Ayee said. “The illusion of control is that, as students go through the levels, the controls randomize, which makes it very difficult to achieve the outcome they want, which is collecting the coins. ”   

Ayee explained that The Randomizer is like Pac–Man, a retro arcade game in which you play as a giant yellow ball and eat fruit while running away from ghosts. Students who tried to beat the Randomizer were entered into a contest to win one of three scholarships worth $500, $1000, or $1500.  

“I felt like the more I played, the more frustrated I became, but I just wanted to keep playing, which I know is the whole point of gambling,” Emma Evershed said. “You keep not doing well, but you still want to better yourself even though you never will because the buttons are all screwed up.”   

Student playing the Randomizer video game surrounded by their friends.
Emma Evershed attempted — and failed — to beat the Randomizer.

Students who couldn’t attend C-Wing to play the Randomizer can still try to win a scholarship and learn about their chances of developing a gambling problem by visiting theRandomizer.ca. Playing with the Randomizer gives students an opportunity to gamble without gambling anything at all.