A content analysis of gambling operators’ twitter accounts at the start of the English Premier League football season [open-access article].

The use of social media is now an established strategy to engage and maintain customer loyalty. The purpose of the present study was to examine the Twitter accounts of ten of the largest online sports betting operators in the UK to determine what marketing strategies were employed. More specifically, this study analyzed 3375 tweets posted by the operators during the opening weekend of the 2018–2019 English Premier League football season using a content analysis methodology. The results demonstrated that multiple strategies, including hashtags, were used to link gambling operator tweets with major sporting events, and the use of numerous promotional campaigns. Notably, over 90% of the tweets contained no responsible gambling information. The quantity and content of social media posts underline the need for a review of the current advertising regulations in the UK. Further research should examine how exposure to sports betting social media marketing influences gambling behavior. Article available online

Citation: Killick, E.A., & Griffiths, M.D. (2019). A content analysis of gambling operators’ twitter accounts at the start of the English Premier League football season. Journal of Gambling Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-019-09879-4

Public health effects of gambling – debate on a conceptual model [open-access article].

Background: Gambling for money is a popular leisure time activity in most countries, which has major social and economic impacts not only affecting the gambler, but his/her significant others, and the society. Gambling impact studies can help researchers and policymakers compare the health and social costs and benefits of different gambling policies and can be used when considering which gambling policies will reduce or increase costs or benefits the most. In a public health approach, the impacts of gambling, negative and positive, are assessed across the entire severity spectrum of the activity. Although some studies have created basic principles for conducting impact studies, a theoretical model is currently lacking. The aim of this debate is to review complementing and contrasting views on the effects of gambling to create a conceptual model, where a public health perspective is applied.

Main text: The effects of gambling can be structuralized using a conceptual model, where impacts are divided into negative and positive; costs and benefits. Costs and benefits are categorized into three classes: financial, labor and health, and well-being. These classes manifest in personal, interpersonal, and societal levels. Individual impacts cause effects on a personal level to gamblers themselves. External impacts influence the interpersonal and society/community levels and concern other people. The temporal level refers to the development, severity and scope of the gambling impact. These include general impacts, impacts of problem gambling and long-term impacts of gambling.

Conclusions: The conceptual model offers a base on which to start building common methodology for assessing the impact of gambling on the society. While measuring monetary impacts is not always straightforward, the main issue is how to measure the social impacts, which are typically ignored in calculations, as are personal and interpersonal impacts. The reviewed empirical work largely concentrated on the costs of gambling, especially costs on the community level. The Model can be used to identify areas where research is scarce. Filling the gaps in knowledge is essential in forming a balanced evidence base on the impacts of gambling. Ideally, this evidence could be the starting point in formulating public policies on gambling. Article available online

Citation: Tiina Latvala, T., Lintonen, T., & Konu, A. (2019). Public health effects of gambling – debate on a conceptual model. BMC Public Health, 19(1077). doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7391-z

Problem gambling and support preferences among Finnish prisoners: a pilot study in an adult correctional population [open-access article].

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the prevalence of potential problem gambling among Finnish prisoners; the associations between problem gambling and demographics, substance use and crime-related factors; and problem gamblers’ support preferences.

Design/methodology/approach – Prisoners (n ¼ 96) from two Finnish prisons were recruited between December 2017 and January 2018. The estimated response rate was 31 percent. Gambling problems were measured using the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen. The participants were asked to report their gambling both for one year prior to their incarceration and for the past year. The independent variables were demographics (age, gender and marital status), substance use (alcohol, smoking and narcotics) and crime-related factors (crime type, prison type and previous sentence). Statistical significance (p) was determined using Fischer’s exact test.

Findings – Past-year pre-conviction problem gambling prevalence was 16.3 percent and past-year prevalence 15 percent. Age, gender, smoking, alcohol or illicit drug use were not associated with past-year problem gambling before sentencing. One-third of the prisoners (33.3 percent) who were sentenced for a property crime, financial crime or robbery were problem gamblers. One-quarter (24 percent) of all participants showed an interest in receiving support by identifying one or more support preferences. The most preferred type of support was group support in its all forms.

Research limitations/implications – It is recommended that correctional institutions undertake systematic screening for potential problem gambling, and implement tailored intervention programs for inmates with gambling problems.

Originality/value – This study provides a deeper understanding of problem gambling in prisons. Problem gambling is associated with crime and also seems to be linked with serving a previous sentence. Early detection and tailored interventions for problem gambling may help to reduce reoffending rates. Article available online

Citation: Lind, K., Salonen, A.H., Järvinen-Tassopoulos, J., Alho, H., & Castrén, S. (2019). Problem gambling and support preferences among Finnish prisoners: a pilot study in an adult correctional population. International Journal of Prisoner Health. doi: 10.1108/IJPH-07-2018-0041.

Testing a gambling warning label’s effect on behavior [open-access preprint article].

Responsible gambling campaigns are one measure enacted by a number of statutory bodies and gambling operators in response to concerns about gambling marketing and the accessibility of modern gambling products. For example, since 2015 a number of the UK‘s largest gambling operators have attached the following warning label to TV and shop window adverts: “when the FUN stops, stop” (where the word “fun” is printed in noticeably larger font than any other word). Here we present an initial independent test of this warning label‘s effect on contemporaneous gambling behavior.
A short incentivized survey was conducted to mimic the scenario of online gambling advertising, with warning label presence manipulated between-participants. Participants were given a sequence of nine £0.10 bonuses, and on each trial were presented with the possibility to gamble this bonus on a soccer bet, with bet details and payoffs taken from a major gambling operator‘s website. There were 506 unique participants who had all previously indicated that they were Premier League soccer fans and had experience in online sports betting.
Overall, participants decided to bet on 41.3% of trials when a warning label was shown, compared to 37.8% when no warning label shown (i.e., descriptively the label increases the probability of gambling). According to the preregistered analysis plan, this difference was not significant, (χ^2 (1)=2.10, p=.15) The “when the FUN stops, stop” gambling warning label did not achieve its aim of prompting more responsible gambling behavior in the experiment. Article pre-print available online

Citation: Newall, P., Walasek, L., Singmann, H., & Ludvig, E. (2019). Testing a gambling warning label’s effect on behavior. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/dxfkj.

Win-concurrent sensory cues can promote riskier choice [open-access article].

Reward-related stimuli can potently influence behavior; for example, exposure to drug-paired cues can trigger drug use and relapse in people with addictions. Psychological mechanisms that generate such outcomes likely include cue-induced cravings and attentional biases. Recent animal data suggest another candidate mechanism: reward-paired cues can enhance risky decision making, yet whether this translates to humans is unknown. Here, we examined whether sensory reward-paired cues alter decision making under uncertainty and risk, as measured respectively by the Iowa Gambling Task and a two-choice lottery task. In the cued versions of both tasks, gain feedback was augmented with reward-concurrent audiovisual stimuli. Healthy human volunteers (53 males, 78 females) performed each task once, one with and the other without cues (cued Iowa Gambling Task/uncued Vancouver Gambling Task: n 63; uncued Iowa Gambling Task/cued Vancouver Gambling Task: n 68), with concurrent eye-tracking. Reward-paired cues did not affect choice on the Iowa Gambling Task. On the two-choice lottery task, the cued group displayed riskier choice and reduced sensitivity to probability information. The cued condition was associated with reduced eye fixations on probability information shown on the screen and greater pupil dilation related to decision and reward anticipation. This pupil effect was unrelated to the risk-promoting effects of cues: the degree of pupil dilation for risky versus risk-averse choices did not differ as a function of cues. Together, our data show that sensory reward cues can promote riskier decisions and have additional and distinct effects on arousal. Article available online

Citation: Cherkasova, M.V., Clark, L., Barton, J.S., Schulzer, M., Shafiee, M., Kingstone, A., Stoessl, A.J., & Winstanley, C.A. (2018). Win-concurrent sensory cues can promote riskier choice. Journal of Neuroscience, 38(48), 10362-10370. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1171-18.2018

Debiasing strategies for problem gambling: Using decision science to inform clinical interventions [subscription access article].

Purpose of Review: This review seeks to increase awareness of the broad range of interventions for problem gambling that focus on mitigating biased beliefs and behaviors. A secondary goal of this review is to stimulate thinking surrounding the use of so-called debiasing strategies within the areas of responsible gambling, prevention, and treatment of gambling problems. This is accomplished by classifying gambling interventions according to a taxonomy of debiasing strategies which is used more broadly within the field of decision science.
Recent Findings: Many interventions use cognitive and process-driven (known as technological) debiasing strategies. Furthermore, advances in technology to include digital games and online programs have the power to increase both the efficacy and appeal of such approaches. Unfortunately, far fewer interventions have taken advantage of affective and motivational debiasing strategies.
Summary: There are potential insights to be had and new directions to be explored by incorporating debiasing strategies and decision science into investigations of problem gambling interventions. Possibilities include identifying and examining understudied areas, combining debiasing strategies with existing treatments for problem gambling, developing multimodal debiasing interventions, and focusing explicitly on process-driven approaches. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Broussard, J.D. & Wulfert, E. (2019). Debiasing strategies for problem gambling: Using decision science to inform clinical interventions. Current Addiction Reports. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-019-00263-1

Exploring psychological need satisfaction from gambling participation and the moderating influence of game preferences [open-access article].

Abstract: Psychological needs are satisfied through leisure participation, which in turn influences subjective well-being. The present study explored the psychological needs reported to be satisfied through gambling participation and examined associations between need satisfaction, game preferences and subjective well-being. A heterogeneous, self-selected sample of 1446 participants was recruited, through the Internet gambling provider Kindred Group Plc, for an online questionnaire survey. Five psychological need dimensions of gambling were identified, using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses on calibration and validation samples, respectively: mastery, detachment, self-affirmation, risk and excitement, and affiliation. Challenge and mastery need satisfaction was higher for poker than for sports betting, horse racing, slots or casino table games; both self-affirmation and affiliation were also higher for poker than for sports betting and slots. By comparison, detachment was higher for slots than for sports gambling. While there were no significant variations in stress levels between the different forms of gambling, happiness ratings were lower for slots compared with sports betting and poker. This study provides insight into how distinctive patterns of play may satisfy different psychological needs and provides preliminary insights into how gambling patterns may prove adaptive or maladaptive as leisure choices. Article available online

Citation: Parke, J., Williams, R.J., & Schofield, P. (2019) Exploring psychological need satisfaction from gambling participation and the moderating influence of game preferences. International Gambling Studies. DOI: 10.1080/14459795.2019.1633381.