Addressing the Issue of Problem Gambling in the Criminal Justice System: A Series of Case Studies (full text)

Nigel E. Turner, Steve McAvoy, Peter Ferentzy, Flora I. Matheson, Chris Myers, Farah Jindani, Nina Littman-Sharp, Jan Malat.

The prevalence rates of problem gambling in the adult correctional population are 5 to 10 times higher than those found in the general population. Yet little has been published about dealing with problem gamblers in correctional settings. We conducted a literature review and interviewed 16 key informants who provide services to clients experiencing problem gambling and/or who have worked in the criminal justice system. Our objective was to gain greater understanding of programming for problem gambling for clients who are involved in the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on Ontario. The published literature on this topic is remarkably sparse. In fact, only two peer-reviewed published studies were identified that formally evaluated a treatment program for problem gambling for clients in these settings. However, we uncovered a small number of programs (10) that had been developed for, and delivered to, this population, including a gambling treatment court in Buffalo, Gamblers Anonymous, outpatient treatment during probation or parole, brief psychoeducational programs, brief therapy, a full intense treatment program, and inpatient treatment after release. We present a series of short case studies of these programs. Although some programs have been delivered within correctional institutions, others have been offered either after release or prior to sentencing. A major issue is the lack of awareness of problem gambling in the criminal justice system among judges, lawyers, wardens, corrections workers, and parole officers. The results are discussed in terms of issues and opportunities for programming for problem gamblers in the criminal justice system.

Turner, N. E., McAvoy, S., Ferentzy, P., Matheson, F. I., Myers, C., Jindani, F., … Malat, J. (2017). Addressing the Issue of Problem Gambling in the Criminal Justice System: A Series of Case Studies. Journal of Gambling Issues, xx–xx.

Factors that influence children’s gambling attitudes and consumption intentions: lessons for gambling harm prevention research, policies and advocacy strategies (full text)

Hannah Pitt, Samantha L. Thomas, Amy Bestman, Mike Daube and Jeffrey Derevensky.

Background: Harmful gambling is a public health issue that affects not only adults but also children. With the development of a range of new gambling products, and the marketing for these products, children are potentially exposed to gambling more than ever before. While there have been many calls to develop strategies which protect children from harmful gambling products, very little is known about the factors that may influence children’s attitudes towards these products. This study aimed to explore children’s gambling attitudes and consumption intentions and the range of consumer socialisation factors that may influence these attitudes and behaviours.

Methods: Children aged 8 to 16 years old (n = 48) were interviewed in Melbourne, Australia. A semi-structured interview format included activities with children and open-ended questions. We explored children’s perceptions of the popularity of different gambling products, their current engagement with gambling, and their future gambling consumption intentions. We used thematic analysis to explore children’s narratives with a focus on the range of socialising factors that may shape children’s gambling attitudes and perceptions.

Results: Three key themes emerged from the data. First, children’s perceptions of the popularity of different products were shaped by what they had seen or heard about these products, whether through family activities, the media (and in particular marketing) of gambling products, and/or the alignment of gambling products with sport. Second, children’s gambling behaviours were influenced by family members and culturally valued events. Third, many children indicated consumption intentions towards sports betting. This was due to four key factors: (1) the alignment of gambling with culturally valued activities; (2) their perceived knowledge about sport; (3) the marketing and advertising of gambling products (and in particular sports betting); and (4) the influence of friends and family.

Conclusions: This study indicates that there is a range of socialisation factors, particularly family and the media (predominantly via marketing), which may be positively shaping children’s gambling attitudes, behaviours and consumption intentions. There is a need for governments to develop effective policies and regulations to reduce children’s exposure to gambling products and ensure they are protected from the harms associated with gambling.

Pitt, H., Thomas, S. L., Bestman, A., Daube, M., & Derevensky, J. (2017). Factors that influence children’s gambling attitudes and consumption intentions: lessons for gambling harm prevention research, policies and advocacy strategies. Harm Reduction Journal, 14, 11.

The Effect of Recreational Gambling on Regional Health Outcomes: Evidence from Canadian Provinces (full text)

Brad R. Humphreys, John A. Nyman and Jane E. Rusesk.

The relationship between gambling and health has important economic and public policy im- plications. We develop causal evidence on this relationship using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey and exploiting regional variation in access to legal gambling. Empir- ical models treat gambling as an endogenous regressor in explaining regional variation in health outcomes. Results from instrumental variable and bivariate probit models show recreational gambling has no or a negative impact on the probability of having certain chronic conditions and a positive impact on life satisfaction, diering from past studies that nd a positive associ- ation between problem gambling and adverse health outcomes.

Recovery, relapse, or else? Treatment outcomes in gambling disorder from a multicenter follow-up study

K.W. Müller, K. Wölfling, U. Dickenhorst, M.E. Beutel, J. Medenwaldt, A. Koch.

Purpose: Gambling disorder is associated with various adverse effects. While data on the immediate effectiveness of treatment programs are available, follow-up studies examining long-term effects are scarce and factors contributing to a stable therapy outcome versus relapse are under-researched.

Materials and methods: Patients (n = 270) finishing inpatient treatment for gambling disorder regularly participated in a prospective multicenter follow-up study (pre-treatment, post-treatment, 12-month follow-up). Criteria for gambling disorder, psychopathology, functional impairment were defined as endpoints. Changes in personality were defined as an additional parameter.

Results: At follow-up, three groups were identified: subjects maintaining full abstinence (41.6%), patients still meeting criteria for gambling disorder (29.2%), and subjects still participating in gambling without meeting the diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder (29.2%). Every group had improvements in functional impairment, abstinent subjects showed the lowest psychopathology. Significant decreases in neuroticism and increases in both extraversion and conscientiousness were found among abstinent subjects but not in patients still meeting criteria for gambling disorder.

Discussion: One year after treatment, a considerable percentage of patients kept on gambling but not all of them were classified with gambling disorder leading to the question if abstinence is a necessary goal for every patient.

Conclusions: The changes of personality in abstinent patients indicate that after surmounting gambling disorder a subsequent maturing of personality might be a protective factor against relapse.

Müller, K. W., Wölfling, K., Dickenhorst, U., Beutel, M. E., Medenwaldt, J., & Koch, A. (n.d.). Recovery, relapse, or else? Treatment outcomes in gambling disorder from a multicenter follow-up study. European Psychiatry.

Gender comparison of online and land-based gamblers from a nationally representative sample: Does gambling online pose elevated risk?

Robert Edgren, Sari Castrén, Hannu Alho, Anne H. Salonen.

The expansion of online gambling opportunities calls for better comprehension of online gambling, including relevant gender specific correlates. This study compared online and land-based gamblers among males and females separately, utilizing a nationally representative Finnish survey sample of 18-74 year olds. Online gamblers were younger than land-based gamblers and had full-time working status more often than land-based gamblers, with partial indication of land-based gamblers’ monthly income being lower. Online gambling was associated with participation in computer or video gaming more strongly than with land-based gambling. Results show that the strongest predictors of online gambling common to both genders were younger age, computer gaming and gambling on multiple gambling types. Risky alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking were not associated to gambling mode when controlling for other factors. Results indicate that particularly for females online gambling may be related to higher relative expenditure and at-risk and problem gambling, providing implications for tailored interventions. The continued study of subgroups of gamblers is necessary to comprehensively understand the altering gambling milieu.

An Investigation of the Association Between Shame and Problem Gambling: The Mediating Role of Maladaptive Coping Motives

Hera E. Schlagintweit, Kara Thompson, Abby L. Goldstein, Sherry H. Stewart.

Despite often being considered equivalent affective states, shame and guilt have differential associations with problem gambling with only shame showing a strong positive association with problem gambling. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the shame-problem gambling association. Further, shame and guilt are associated with distinct coping strategies, with shame motivating maladaptive coping (e.g., avoidance, escape) and guilt motivating adaptive coping (e.g., taking corrective action). This study aimed to examine whether maladaptive coping motives for gambling mediate the relationship between shame, but not guilt, and gambling problems. Participants were 196 (126 male) regular gamblers who completed a same and guilt scale, the Problem Gambling Severity Index, and a modified Gambling Motives Questionnaire, which assessed individual motives to engage in gambling for coping, enhancement, or social reasons. Results indicated that coping motives for gambling fully mediated the relationship between shame and problem gambling severity, but did not mediate the association between guilt and problem gambling severity. Experiencing shame contributes to problem gambling as a result of gambling to cope with negative affect. Cultivating more adaptive strategies to cope with shame may be effective in preventing and treating problem gambling.

Me, Myself, and Money II: Relative Deprivation Predicts Disordered Gambling Severity via Delay Discounting, Especially Among Gamblers Who Have a Financially Focused Self-Concept


Nassim Tabri, N. Will Shead, Michael J. A. Wohl.

In the current research, we examined whether the known link between relative deprivation and disordered gambling (via delay discounting; i.e., preferences for immediate smaller rewards relative to delayed larger rewards) is moderated by the extent to which gamblers have a financially focused self-concept. Specifically, we hypothesized that delay discounting would be a strong predictor of disordered gambling among those who base their self-worth on their financial success. To test this moderated-mediation model, a community sample of gamblers (N = 239) completed measures that assessed relative deprivation, delay discounting, financially focused self-concept, and disordered gambling severity. As predicted, people who felt more relative deprivation reported more severe symptoms of disordered gambling and this association was mediated by delay discounting. Importantly, this mediated relationship was moderated by the extent to which participants’ self-concept was focused on financial success. Among participants whose self-concept was high in financial focus, greater delay discounting (stemming from relative deprivation) was a strong predictor of disordered gambling. Among people whose self-concept was low in financial focus, delay discounting (stemming from relative deprivation) was a weak predictor of disordered gambling. Thus, the magnitude of the indirect effect of relative deprivation on disordered gambling severity was larger among people with a more financially focused self-concept—an effect mediated by delay discounting. These findings suggest that targeting gamblers’ financial focus in prevention and treatment interventions may be instrumental in curtailing the development and maintenance of disordered gambling.