Practical Treatments Considering the Role of Sociocultural Factors on Problem Gambling

Reviews of problem gambling (PG) literature increasingly recognize the ways in which different ethnic groups are affected by gambling behaviors, yet discourse, which considers sociocultural factors within PG, remains limited. Literature on this topic is influenced by large inconsistencies amongst research studies, overlapping terminology, and variability in the validity of research studies, making conclusions difficult to draw. Despite these discrepancies, this paper explores how sociocultural factors influence PG among diverse cultural groups and provides specific practical implications for treating PG disorders in culturally diverse populations. Notable factors that exacerbate PG behavior cross-culturally include substance abuse, low socioeconomic status, lack of social activities, and geographic location. Culturally sensitive treatment options such as Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have been identified as effective treatments for PG with culturally diverse populations. This paper extends current thought by providing practical treatment recommendations that consider the subtle nuances of diverse populations. It explains how treatment providers and behavioral addiction professionals can increase their understanding and skills when conceptualizing PG clients from a diverse background.

Who Pays to Play Freemium Games? The Profiles and Motivations of Players Who Make Purchases Within Social Casino Games

The role of social support in the association between gambling, poor health and health risk-taking

Aims: Studies have shown that gambling is associated with poor health and health risk-taking behaviour. However, little is known about those factors that can influence the association between gambling, health risk-taking and health. Using a population-based School Health Promotion Study of eighth- and ninth-grade Finnish boys and girls (N = 62,956), we investigated the relationships between gambling frequency, health risk-taking and poor health as well as whether social support from parents, friends and school staff could mediate these associations. Methods: Path analysis was used to discover direct and indirect effects of health, health risk-taking and gambling. Results: Social support from parents and school staff decreased gambling among boys and girls, whereas among boys support from friends increased gambling. However, the role of social support as a mediator was very weak. Overall poor health and health risk-taking were associated with increased gambling. Conclusions: Gambling should be considered an important public health issue because it clusters with other unhealthy behaviour patterns. Interventions concerning adolescent gambling should also take other simultaneous risk-taking into consideration. Also social support from parents and school should be noted when trying to decrease adolescents’ gambling.

Principles for Developing Benchmark Criteria for Staff Training in Responsible Gambling

One approach to minimizing the negative consequences of excessive gambling is staff training to reduce the rate of the development of new cases of harm or disorder within their customers. The primary goal of the present study was to assess suitable benchmark criteria for the training of gambling employees at casinos and lottery retailers. The study utilised the Delphi Method, a survey with one qualitative and two quantitative phases. A total of 21 invited international experts in the responsible gambling field participated in all three phases. A total of 75 performance indicators were outlined and assigned to six categories: (1) criteria of content, (2) modelling, (3) qualification of trainer, (4) framework conditions, (5) sustainability and (6) statistical indicators. Nine of the 75 indicators were rated as very important by 90 % or more of the experts. Unanimous support for importance was given to indicators such as (1) comprehensibility and (2) concrete action-guidance for handling with problem gamblers, Additionally, the study examined the implementation of benchmarking, when it should be conducted, and who should be responsible. Results indicated that benchmarking should be conducted every 1–2 years regularly and that one institution should be clearly defined and primarily responsible for benchmarking. The results of the present study provide the basis for developing a benchmarking for staff training in responsible gambling.

A Critical Review of the Harm-Minimisation Tools Available for Electronic Gambling

The increasing sophistication of gambling products afforded by electronic technologies facilitates increased accessibility to gambling, as well as encouraging rapid and continuous play. This poses several challenges from a responsible gambling perspective, in terms of facilitating player self-awareness and self-control. The same technological advancements in gambling that may facilitate a loss of control may also be used to provide responsible gambling tools and solutions to reduce gambling-related harm. Indeed, several harm-minimisation strategies have been devised that aim to facilitate self-awareness and self-control within a gambling session. Such strategies include the use of breaks in play, ‘pop-up’ messaging, limit setting, and behavioural tracking. The present paper reviews the theoretical argument underpinning the application of specific harm-minimisation tools, as well as providing one of the first critical reviews of the empirical research assessing their efficacy, in terms of influencing gambling cognitions and behaviour.

Predictors of adverse gambling related consequences among adolescent boys

Although gambling is illegal for minors, adolescents do gamble and even higher proportions of adolescents than adults are at risk to become problem gamblers. Moreover, many adolescents suffer from a wide range of gambling related harms, and this study sought to examine what predicts different adverse consequences of adolescent gambling. Our aim was to test whether various cognitive, motivational and behavioural factors were associated with psychosocial consequences and loss of control, and with interpersonal and financial consequences of gambling, as measured by the Canadian Adolescent Gambling Inventory, the only instrument developed specifically for use on adolescents. The data was collected on a convenience sample of 1330 male Croatian students (Mage = 16.58, SDage = 1.16) from all three types of secondary education in Croatia. Results show that a high proportion of adolescents gamble, and that almost half of them are either at risk or can already be considered problem gamblers. Sport betting, VLT machines and betting on virtual horse races were the most frequent gambling activities for Croatian high-school boys. Hierarchical regression models showed that psychosocial consequences and loss of control can be predicted by higher frequency of gambling, previous experience with winning money and a specific motivation to earn money gambling, to become a better gambler and with having a drive to continue gambling after winning. On the other hand, interpersonal and financial consequences were predicted again by a higher frequency of gambling, the motive to be a better gambler and the drive to continue gambling after winning, but also by specific motivation to relax and feel better. Having more cognitive distortions, specifically having poorer understanding of chance and probabilities and more superstitious beliefs, as well as engagement in general risky and antisocial behaviour also predicted more interpersonal and financial consequences. Findings are discussed in the context of practical implications for prevention programs of adolescent gambling.
Ricijas, N., Dodig Hundric, D., & Huic, A. (2016). Predictors of adverse gambling related consequences among adolescent boys. Children and Youth Services Review, 67, 168–176.

The Dark Triad and Disordered Gambling

Disordered gambling refers to persistent and recurrent patterns of problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. The purpose of the present study was to examine the connections that the Dark Triad personality traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) had with disordered gambling in a sample of 572 undergraduate students (129 men, 443 women). Our analyses revealed that narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism were each related to disordered gambling. However, psychopathy was the only Dark Triad personality trait that had a unique association with the risk for disordered gambling when controlling for the other Dark Triad traits. The discussion focuses on the implications of these results for understanding the connections between psychopathy and disordered gambling.

Bread, milk and a Tattslotto ticket: the interpretive repertoires of young adult gambling in Australia

The discourse of Australian young adults who gamble regularly was analysed to explore key dilemmas and challenges of a generation who grew up with the positive and negative impacts of gambling advertisements. Qualitative interviews of seven young recreational gamblers who regularly frequent gaming machine venues were conducted. The discourse that they used to describe their gambling involvement, motivation, development and subjective views were analysed and three central repertoires: ‘Culture not self,’ ‘If it makes you happy,’ and ‘No problem here!’ were identified. The current findings demonstrate the participants’ attempts to understand and legitimise their gambling. Further, it was suggested that young adults face a series of dilemmas when deciding whether to gamble and to what extent they gamble. Their discourse highlights the tension between individual agency, societal expectations and familial influence. The respondents primarily gambled for social reasons in a manner which they perceived as culturally acceptable. The importance of harm minimization and public awareness campaigns directed at young adults was also discussed.

A Prospective Investigation of Affect, the Desire to Gamble, Gambling Motivations and Gambling Behavior in the Mood Disorders

Time-sampling methodology was implemented to examine the prospective associations between affect, desire to gamble, and gambling behavior in individuals diagnosed with a mood disorder. Thirty (9 male, 21 female) adults with a lifetime diagnosis of a depressive or bipolar disorder diagnosis who endorsed current gambling and lifetime gambling harm participated in the present study. Participants completed electronic diary entries of their current affective state, desire to gamble, and gambling behavior for 30 consecutive days. Hierarchical linear modelling revealed that affect was not a predictor of gambling behavior. Instead, affect predicted the desire to gamble, with high levels of sadness and arousal independently predicting an increased desire to gamble. Desire to gamble predicted actual gambling behavior. There were no differences across diagnostic groups in terms of gambling motivations at baseline; however, during the 30-day period, participants with bipolar disorder endorsed gambling to cope with negative affect more often than did participants with depressive disorder, whereas those with depressive disorder more often endorsed gambling for social reasons or enhancement of positive affect. The present findings provide evidence that negative affect is not directly related to actual gambling behavior, and suggest that affective states rather impact the desire to gamble.

Graphs versus numbers: How information format affects risk aversion in gambling

In lottery gambling, the common phenomenon of risk aversion shows up as preference of the option with the higher win probability, even if a riskier alternative offers a greater expected value. Because riskier choices would optimize profitability in such cases, the present study investigates the visual format, with which lotteries are conveyed, as potential instrument to modulate risk attitudes. Previous research has shown that enhanced attention to graphical compared to numerical probabilities can increase risk aversion, but evidence for the reverse effect — reduced risk aversion through a graphical display of outcomes — is sparse. We conducted three experiments, in which participants repeatedly selected one of two lotteries. Probabilities and outcomes were either presented numerically or in a graphical format that consisted of pie charts (Experiment 1) or icon arrays (Experiment 2 and 3). Further, expected values were either higher in the safer or in the riskier lottery, or they did not differ between the options. Despite a marked risk aversion in all experiments, our results show that presenting outcomes as graphs can reduce — albeit not eliminate — risk aversion (Experiment 3). Yet, not all formats prove suitable, and non-intuitive outcome graphs can even enhance risk aversion (Experiment 1). Joint analyses of choice proportions and response times (RTs) further uncovered that risk aversion leads to safe choices particularly in fast decisions. This pattern is expressed under graphical probabilities, whereas graphical outcomes can weaken the rapid dominance of risk aversion and the variability over RTs (Experiment 1 and 2). Together, our findings demonstrate the relevance of information format for risky decisions.