Driving artificial intelligence use in responsible gambling practices [thesis paper]

Abstract: Gambling operators have incorporated specific responsible gambling (RG) measures as a unique approach to enhance their corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, staff accuracy in problem gambling identification, one important RG measure, remains low: venue staff can identify only 36% of patrons experiencing gambling problems. Artificial intelligence (AI)’s integration with responsible gambling (RG) practices has gained increasing attention in the gaming industry. The technological mechanisms set by AI can exploit the correlation and interaction between variables in a multivariate way, an utmost difficult task for humans, to identify risky patterns and determine which player attributes correlate with positive behavioral changes. The result helps to develop better RG strategies and safe play guidelines for players. However, AI technologies encountered a low degree of acceptance and adoption in the industry because of technical, ethical, regulatory issues regarding AI applications for gambling and the way of data collection from gamblers. The extensive literature review on both AI and RG aims to recommend best practices for the use of AI in a way in which the gaming industry can comply with responsible gambling guidelines, while also ensuring they adhere to local law and best practice in data privacy. The recommendations cover four aspects of AI implementation: data privacy, security and governance; ethical consideration in deployment and design; data quality; and, transparency,  interpretability, and accountability of AI systems. As there are almost no regulations designed for AI, this paper proposed the first set of solutions that can help gambling regulators, operators, and players better understand AI systems, thus using them more
effectively and responsibly. Link to the paper

Citation: Huang, Q. (2020). Driving artificial intelligence use in responsible gambling practices (paper submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Science in Hospitality Management, University of Nevada).

Getting involved in gambling as a way of escaping from violence: The meaning of gambling based on the experience of domestic violence in problematic gamblers [open access article]

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to understand the meaning of gambling addiction from the perspective of problematic gamblers through their life stories. Methods: A narrative approach was utilized for this study. The data were collected from June 1 to September 30, 2019, from a purposive sample of three participants by using in-depth interviews, observations, and note-taking. Results: The participants told their life stories from childhood, stressing the experiences of being abused physically and emotionally by their own families. Their life stories commonly revealed that they became involved in gambling to escape the influence of the violence they had suffered. Due to their childhood abuse experiences, they had various problems, including distorted values toward money, low self-esteem, ambivalent feelings, and a lack of interpersonal coping skills, which often contributed to their addiction problems. Conclusion: This study is meaningful in that it tried to understand the current addiction problem by focusing on the individual life experiences from the past to the present. Addiction recovery involves not only stopping the problematic behavior but also forming a new life meaning to lead a confident and independent future. Link to the article

Citation: Choi, S., Lee, M., & Park, S. (2020). Getting involved in gambling as a way of escaping from violence: The meaning of gambling based on the experience of domestic violence in problematic gamblers. Journal of Korean Academy of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 29(2), 119-132. https://doi.org/10.12934/jkpmhn.2020.29.2.119

‘It’s concerning’, but is it your concern? Objectivity, advocacy and activism in gambling research [subscription article]

Abstract: In recent years, there has been an increase in advocacy and social media activism in the field of gambling studies. Much of the focus of this activity has been directed toward concern about the lack of concerted government action to reduce gambling-harm as well as concern about industry influence in government policy and research agendas. It is thought that such activity could be successful in reducing harmful behavior as has been witnessed in relation to smoking in previous decades. In this paper, we highlight some concerns about this advocacy activity as it applies to gambling. We support the view that careful scrutiny should be applied to any research directly funded for industry due to the potential conflict of interest. However, we believe that: (a) greater scrutiny should be given to the role of government and other interest groups in the determination of research agendas and (b) greater transparency be displayed by public health advocates who are strongly opposed to gambling on moral, ethical or theoretical grounds. We discuss the potential pitfalls of conflating research academic and advocacy roles and the threats which this can pose for balanced, inclusive and objective debates in the field of gambling studies. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Delfabbro, P., & King, D.L. (2020). ‘It’s concerning’, but is it your concern? Objectivity, advocacy and activism in gambling research. International Gambling Studies, DOI: 10.1080/14459795.2020.1791221

An examination of clinician responses to problem gambling in community mental health services [open access article]

Abstract: Gambling problems commonly co-occur with other mental health problems. However, screening for problem gambling (PG) rarely takes place within mental health treatment settings. The aim of the current study was to examine the way in which mental health clinicians respond to PG issues. Participants (n = 281) were recruited from a range of mental health services in Victoria, Australia. The majority of clinicians reported that at least some of their caseload was affected by gambling problems. Clinicians displayed moderate levels of knowledge about the reciprocal impact of gambling problems and mental health but had limited knowledge of screening tools to detect PG. Whilst 77% reported that they screened for PG, only 16% did so “often” or “always” and few expressed confidence in their ability to treat PG. However, only 12.5% reported receiving previous training in PG, and those that had, reported higher levels of knowledge about gambling in the context of mental illness, more positive attitudes about responding to gambling issues, and more confidence in detecting/screening for PG. In conclusion, the findings highlight the need to upskill mental health clinicians so they can better identify and manage PG and point towards opportunities for enhanced integrated working with gambling services. Link to the article

Citation: Manning, V., Dowling, N.A., Rodda, S.N., Cheetham, A., & Lubman, D.I. (2020). An examination of clinician responses to problem gambling in community mental health services. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9 (2075). doi:10.3390/jcm9072075

Gambling in prisons – A nationwide Polish study of sentenced men [open access article]

Despite the abandonment of the criterion of committing illegal acts in the diagnosis of pathological gambling in fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), research confirms the significant link between crime, gambling, and gambling addiction.

In Poland, this connection is observed by psychologists working in the prison service, who simultaneously report the need for more structured interactions that would solve gambling problems among prisoners. The lack of any data on the involvement of persons committing crimes in gambling in Poland formed the basis for the implementation of a survey of gambling behaviour and gambling problems among male offenders in Polish correctional institutions.

A total of 1,219 sentenced men took part in the study. The research tool included 75 questions, including queries from the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Based on SOGS, the prevalence rate of severe problem gambling was 29.4% over the lifetimes of the prisoners. As many as 13.1% of respondents admitted to having gambled in prison. This activity usually involved cards, bets or dice. More than 74% of incarcerated men who gambled in prison met the criteria for pathological gambling. Prisoners who gambled more in prison than at liberty made up 27.7%.

As many as 69.3% of respondents declared that while in prison, they had met fellow convicts experiencing problems because of gambling. The study shows that criminals continue gambling after detention, especially those who are problem gamblers, an overall finding which implies the need to implement preventive and therapeutic interventions in correctional institutions. Link to the article

Citation: Lelonek-Kuleta, B. (2020). Gambling in prisons – A nationwide Polish study of sentenced men. Journal of Gambling Issues, 44. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

On the limits and challenges of public health approaches in addressing gambling-related problems [subscription access article]

Many governments around the world have adopted a public health (PH) approach as a framework to minimise, reduce or prevent gambling-related harm. In principle, this appears very sensible given the success of PH approaches in other areas of society: in disease control, nutrition, physical exercise and reductions in smoking. In this paper, we examine the challenges that are faced in applying PH principles to gambling. We argue that gambling is a difficult activity to address because of the highly skewed distribution of severity that makes PH interventions seem less relevant for the majority and difficult to apply to the complex minority. In our view, gambling harm can really only be reduced by changing the behaviour of individuals, and this objective is very much informed by the principles and practices of ‘individual-focused disciplines’ including psychology, social work and the medical sciences. Greater evidence and evaluation are needed to demonstrate how the ‘whole of population’ approaches advocated by PH are superior than ecological, individual-focused or responsible gambling approaches to reduce gambling-related harm. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Delfabbro, P., King, D.L. On the Limits and Challenges of Public Health Approaches in Addressing Gambling-Related Problems. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 18, 844–859 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-020-00276-2

Pushing the limits of increased casino advantage on slots: An examination of performance effects and customer reactions [subscription access article]

This field study examined performance data from reel slot games located in two casinos. The paired design incorporated games that appeared identical to the players but featured substantially different, yet concealed, pars (i.e., prices). The results revealed significantly elevated revenues for the high-par games, despite egregious price hikes, while also failing to provide compelling evidence of rational play migration to the low-par games. The latter result suggested that frequently visiting players were not able to detect differences in the pars of games, even over lengthy sample periods. These outcomes were produced by the greatest par gaps of any paired-design study. These expanded gaps also generated the greatest revenue gains within this research stream. Increasing pars may represent a rare opportunity for operators to increase revenues, without concern for eventual brand damage or loss of market share. Limitations regarding the current uses of reel pars are also revealed. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Lucas, A.F., & Spilde, K. (2020). Pushing the Limits of Increased Casino Advantage on Slots: An Examination of Performance Effects and Customer Reactions. Cornell Hospitality Quarterlyhttps://doi.org/10.1177/1938965520916436

The emerging adults gambling survey: study protocol [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]

The Emerging Adults Gambling Survey is a longitudinal survey of young adults aged 16-24 living in Great Britain. It aims to explore a range of gambling behaviours and harms among young adults and examine how this changes over time. It is part of a broader project funded by Wellcome into the gambling behaviours of young people and its relationship with technological change. Funding is currently available for two waves of data collection: the first collected in June/August 2019 (n=3549) and the second to be collected in June/August 2020. The second wave of data collection will also obtain information about the immediate impact of coronavirus on gambling behaviours. With a sample size of 3549 for Wave 1, this is one of the largest study of gambling behaviours among young adults to be conducted in Great Britain and is a resource for other researchers to draw on. Data will be deposited in the UK Data Archive upon completion of Wave 2 data collection and analysis. This protocol is intended to support other researchers to use this resource by setting out the study design and methods. Link to the article

Citation: How to cite this article: Wardle H. The Emerging Adults Gambling Survey: study protocol [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review] Wellcome Open Research 2020, 5:102 https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15969.1

Gamtest: Psychometric evaluation in a low-gambling general population [open access article]

Instruments that investigate different aspects of gambling activities are needed to distinguish negative consequences. Because gambling is a complex activity that occurs both offline and online, different questionnaires are necessary for screening
and risk classification. GamTest, an instrument used by several gambling companies, was designed to cover different aspects of gambling: money and time spent, as well as social, financial, and emotional consequences.

This study explores GamTest’s psychometric properties in a general population. A total of 2,234 Swedish respondents completed an online survey containing demographic questions, the questionnaire (GamTest), and the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). A confirmatory factor analysis was performed and GamTest’s reliability and validity tested. The confirmatory factor analysis yielded an inclusive fit. The internal consistency (omega) for the five factors was high (.79–.91), indicating good reliability, and a high positive correlation with the PGSI supported the validity of the GamTest.

The inclusive fit of the confirmatory factor analysis can be explained by the low endorsement of negative consequences of gambling in the sample. However, GamTest seems to have good reliability and validity. The utility of GamTest is discussed in relation to its psychometric properties and its use in the responsible gambling tool Playscan. Link to the article

Citation: Forsström, D., Philip Lindner, P., Jansson-Fröjmark, M., Hesser, H., & Carlbring, P. (2020). Gamtest: Psychometric evaluation in a low-gambling general population. Journal of Gambling Issues. Retrieved from scholar.google.co.nz/

The personality profile of chronic alcohol dependent patients with comorbid gambling disorder symptoms [open access article]

Background and aims: The importance of personality characteristics in the diagnostics and treatment of gambling disorder (GD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) is often highlighted in scientific literature. This study aimed to test predictions about the associations of temperament and character in chronic AUD patients with comorbid GD symptoms and without them.

Methods: Chronic AUD patients enrolled from an inpatient clinic were divided in two groups based on cluster analysis, AUD patients with (AUD+GD groups: N = 30) and without (AUD groups: N = 68) GD symptoms. Severity of GD symptoms and personality dimensions (Cloninger’s Temperament and Character Inventory Revised, TCI-R) were assessed. Associations of tested variables were analysed with analysis of covariance, one-sample and independent sample t-tests.

Results: GD symptoms proved to be a clustering factor in terms of personality, where AUD+GD groups expressed a more maladaptive personality profile. Compared to Hungarian normative TCI-R scores, both patient groups showed elevated levels of Harm Avoidance and Novelty Seeking with lower scores of Self-directedness, while the AUD+GD group scored lower on Persistence and Cooperation as well. The AUD+GD group reported significantly higher levels of Harm Avoidance, with lower scores of Reward Dependence compared to the AUD group.

Discussion: Comorbid GD symptom severity is an important factor in chronic AUD, where AUD patients with comorbid GD symptoms exhibited more maladaptive personality constellation than singular AUD patients. These emphasize the need of special attention for comorbid GD symptoms in AUD, since treatment recommendations and prognosis for them may also differ. Link to the article

Citation: I. Kovács, I.K. Pribék, I. Demeter, et al., The personality profile of chronic alcohol dependent patients with comorbid gambling disorder symptoms, Comprehensive Psychiatry (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2020.152183