Consumer perspectives of a multi-venue gambling self-exclusion program: A qualitative process analysis

Available online – from the Journal of Gambling Studies

Abstract: Self-exclusion is an important harm minimization strategy implemented by gambling operators to restrict a problem gambler’s access to gambling opportunities. Aspects of self-exclusion, including low uptake and non-compliance, limit the effectiveness of programs. Research that considers the consumer perspective is needed to enhance the perceived utility of self-exclusion in the target audience. Twenty interviews were conducted with current (n = 13) and former (n = 7) participants of a multi-venue self-exclusion program for land-based gaming machine venues in New South Wales, Australia. Participants were asked open-ended questions about their experiences and opinions of the program, including its strengths and weaknesses, and suggested improvements for future consumers. Overall, participants found self-exclusion beneficial. However, several shortcomings of the program were expressed, including lack of available public information and overly complicated registration processes. Participants lacked confidence in venues’ willingness and ability to identify non-compliant gamblers and highlighted the need for vastly improved detection systems. The quality of interactions with venue staff in relation to self-exclusion were mixed; counsellor support, however, was perceived as important from beginning to end of a self-exclusion period. Results suggest that gambling operators should increase marketing efforts to promote the availability and benefits of self-exclusion. Investigation of strategies to streamline registration processes and to augment detection systems with new technologies was supported. Venue staff may benefit from training in appropriate self-exclusion facilitation procedures. Gambling operators should aim to foster strong links between self-exclusion programs and professional gambling counselling services. Access full article

Reference: Pickering, D., Nong, Z., Gainsbury, S.M. & Blaszczynski, A. (2019). Consumer perspectives of a multi-venue gambling self-exclusion program: A qualitative process analysis. Journal of Gambling Studies, 41.

How are video games and gambling converging?

Available online – Evidence brief from the Gambling Research Exchange Ontario in which the authors outline four key ways that gambling and video games are converging.

[Introduction] In the past five years we have seen digital games and gambling shifting closer together than ever before. Although gambling per se has been available on digital platforms for several decades now, even the most video-game-like gambling experiences … rarely achieved much success. However, more recently a number of very new phenomena have emerged, and become highly successful, which blur video games and gambling in ways not before seen. Specifically, we are seeing video games increasingly shift to using gambling systems in a number of ways, while gambling systems are developing tropes of video games to appeal to new demographics. These are important new shifts for understanding the contemporary gambling landscape, and in this document we seek to outline several of the key ways this is taking place, and why they should be of interest to scholars, policymakers, and the public with an interest in the cutting-edge state of digital gambling. Access full article

Reference: Johnson, M.R., & Brock, T. (2019). How are video games and gambling converging? Gambling Research Exchange Ontario, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Framing a public health approach to gambling harms in Wales: Challenges and opportunities

Available online – Report commissioned by Public Health Wales takes a broader perspective on the impact of gambling than previous traditional medical perspectives.

Introduction: Recent years have seen substantial increases in the availability of gambling. In Great Britain, the gambling industry’s annual Gross Gambling Yield (GGY; that is, the difference between bets paid in and bets paid out) has increased to £14.4bn in 2017/18. This suggests that either more people are gambling or that those who do gamble are spending more money gambling than previously. These observations, along with rapid technological changes that now provide gambling products and services through online and mobile platforms to more sectors of the population, have heightened concerns about the numbers of people at-risk of experiencing gambling harms and associated social costs Access full report

Reference: Rogers, R.D., Wardle, H., Sharp, C.A., Dymond, S., Davies, T.J., Hughes, K. & Astbury, G. (2019). Framing a public health approach to gambling harms in Wales: Challenges and opportunities. Cardiff: Public Health Wales.

A mapping review of research on gambling harm in three regulatory environments [open access article]

Background: Harmful gambling is a complex issue with diverse antecedents and resulting harms that have been studied from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Although previous bibliometric reviews of gambling studies have found a dominance of judgement and decision-making research, no bibliometric review has examined the concept of “harm” in the gambling literature, and little work has quantitatively assessed how gambling research priorities differ between countries.

Methods: Guided by the Conceptual Framework of Harmful Gambling (CFHG), an internationally relevant framework of antecedents to harmful gambling, we conducted a bibliometric analysis focusing on research outputs from three countries with different gambling regulatory environments: Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Using a Web of Science database search, 1424 articles published from 2008 to 2017 were retrieved that could be mapped to the eight CFHG factors. A subsample of articles (n = 171) containing the word “harm” in the title, abstract, or keywords was then drawn. Descriptive statistics were used to examine differences between countries and trends over time with regard to CFHG factor and harm focus

Results: Psychological and biological factors dominate gambling research in Canada whereas resources and treatment have received more attention in New Zealand. A greater percentage of Australia and New Zealand publications address the gambling environment and exposure to gambling than in Canada. The subset of articles focused on harm showed a stronger harms focus among New Zealand and Australian researchers compared to Canadian-authored publications.

Conclusions: The findings provide preliminary bibliometric evidence that gambling research foci may be shaped by jurisdictional regulation of gambling. Countries with privately operated gambling focused on harm factors that are the operators’ responsibility, whereas jurisdictions with a public health model focused on treatment and harm reduction resources. In the absence of a legislated requirement for public health or harm minimisation focus, researchers in jurisdictions with government-operated gambling tend to focus research on factors that are the individual’s responsibility and less on the harms they experience. Given increased international attention to gambling-related harm, regulatory and research environments could promote and support more diverse research in this area. Access full article

Reference: Baxter, D.G., Hilbrecht, M., Wheaton, C.T.J. (2019). A mapping review of research on gambling harm in three regulatory environments. Harm Reduction Journal, 16(12).

Gaming-gambling convergence: Research, regulation, and reactions [article available via ResearchGate]

Introduction: The convergence of gaming and gambling has been the subject of research, debate, and regulatory consideration over the past ten years as technological advances and consumer preferences are changing the nature in which both activities are offered. Gambling activities are increasingly incorporating gaming features that focus on skill, social interaction, progress, achievement, and competition. Conversely, games have integrated gambling themes and aspects of gambling including randomly-determined outcomes and rewards, including those that require a payment, and increased monetization of in-game items through legitimate and illegitimate marketplaces. The motives for both are related to recognition of the broad appeal of both gaming and gambling, the commercial potential of the activities, and an effort to appeal to a broad demographic, including young adults given the aging player base of traditional gambling activities. The limited factual understanding of the impact of incorporating gambling themes and mechanics into popular games and vice versa has not stopped sensationalist headlines and alarmist reactions that are not evidence-based. Access full article

Reference: Gainsbury, S.M. (2019). Gaming-gambling convergence: Research, regulation, and reactions. Gaming Law Review.

Giving room to subjectivity in understanding and assessing problem gambling: A patient-centered approach focused on quality of life [open access article]

Background and aims: Problem gambling is characterized by high stigma and self-stigma, making relevant measurement of the burden of the disorder complex. The aim of our qualitative study was to describe health related quality of life (HRQOL) impacted by problem gambling from the patients’ perspective.

Methods: We conducted 6 focus groups with 25 current or lifetime at-risk problem gamblers to identify key domains of quality of life impacted by problem gambling. A content analysis from the focus groups data was conducted using Alceste© software, using descendant hierarchical classification analysis, to obtain stable classes and the significant presences of reduced forms. The class of interest, detailing the core of impacted quality of life, was described using a cluster analysis.

Results: Thematic content analysis identified three stable classes. Class 1 contained the interviewers’ speech. Class 3 was composed of the vocabulary related to gambling practice, games and gambling venues (casino, horse betting, etc.). Class 2 described the core of impact of gambling on quality of life and corresponded to 43% of the analyzed elementary context units. This analysis revealed seven key domains of impact of problem gambling: loneliness, financial pressure, relationships deterioration, feeling of incomprehension, preoccupation with gambling, negative emotions, and avoidance of helping relationships.

Conclusions: We identified, beyond objective damage, the subjective distress felt by problem gamblers over the course of the disorder and in the helping process, marked in particular by stigma and self-stigma. Four impacted HRQOL areas were new and gambling-specific: loneliness, feeling of incomprehension, avoidance of helping relationships, and preoccupation with gambling. These results support the relevance of developing, in a next step, a specific HRQOL scale in the context of gambling. Access full article

Reference: VBonfils, N.A., Grall-Bronnec, M., Caillon, J., Limosin, F., Benyamina, A., Aubin, H., & Luquiens, A. (2018). Giving room to subjectivity in understanding and assessing problem gambling: A patient-centered approach focused on quality of life. Journal of Behavioral Addictions. DOI:10.1556/2006.7.2018.137

Gambling spending and its concentration on problem gamblers [subscription access article]

Abstract: While most gamblers spend moderate amounts of money, a few spend much more. This leads to spending being concentrated among a small number of players. Building on a body of literature that shows disproportionate spending by problem gamblers, we hypothesize that problem gambling causes such concentration. We investigate this hypothesis empirically by using GINI coefficients derived from survey datasets of gamblers from three different jurisdictions: France, Québec, and Germany.

We find strong positive relationships between the GINI coefficient and (1) the share of revenue derived from problem gamblers, and (2) excess spending of problem gamblers. We interpret these results as a link between the effect of problem gambling—excessive and disproportionate spending—and concentration of gambling demand. Since the problem gambling status of players is often unknown, policy makers and gambling operators could use the GINI coefficient as an additional indicator to monitor social risk in gambling markets. Article details and access conditions

Reference: Fiedler, I., Kairouz, S., Costes, J., & Weißmüller, K.S. (2019). Gambling spending and its concentration on problem gamblers. Journal of Business Research, 98(May), 82-91.