Percentage and currency framing of house-edge gambling warning labels [article]

All commercial gambling games are constructed so that the average gambler will lose money over time. This fact is often communicated to gamblers on virtual gambling games as the “return-to-player.” A return-to-player of 90% means that for every £100 bet, on average £90 is paid back out in prizes. In previous work, gamblers were better informed, and perceived a lower chance of winning, when this information was equivalently reframed as a “house-edge” of 10%, whereby the game keeps 10% of all money bet on average. This paper explores whether there are further risk communication advantages to using currency framing for the house-edge format, by directly stating the amount kept as: “This game keeps £10 for every £100 bet on average.” Online gamblers (N = 1,007) reported their perceived chances of winning for hypothetical games with house-edges of either 0.5%, 7.5%, or 15%, presented as either percentages or currency units. Gamblers’ perceived chances of winning were unaffected by this framing of house-edge information. Link to the article

Citation: Newall, W.S., Walasek, L., & Ludvig, E.A. (2020). Percentage and currency framing of house-edge gambling warning labels. Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, CQ University, Melbourne.

A systematic review evaluating screening instruments for gambling disorder finds lack of adequate evidence [subscription access article]

To date, no research has systematically evaluated screening instruments for gambling disorder to assess their accuracy and the quality of the research. This systematic review evaluated screening instruments for gambling disorder to inform decision-makers about choices for population-level screening.

Study Design and Setting
On May 22, 2017 and January 4, 2019, we searched PubMed, PsycInfo, EMBASE, and Cochrane for studies that evaluated screening instruments for gambling disorder. Studies were included if (1) the screening instrument was in English, (2) the screening instrument was compared to a reference standard semi-structured interview based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or International Classification of Diseases diagnoses of gambling disorder, and (3) data were reported on psychometric properties of the instrument.

We identified 31 different screening instruments from 60 studies. Only three instruments from three separate studies were eligible for inclusion in the systematic review.

Few screening instruments for gambling disorder have been validated with sufficient methodological quality to be recommended for use across a large health system. Link to the article

Citation: Otto, J.L., Smolenski, D.J., Garvey Wilson, A.L., Evatt, D.P., Campbell, M.S., Beech, E.H., Workman, D.E., Morgan, R.L., O’Gallagher, K., & Belsher, B.E. (2020). A systematic review evaluating screening instruments for gambling disorder finds lack of adequate evidence. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, In Press, Journal Pre-proof.

‘Everyone knows grandma’. Pathways to gambling venues in regional Australia [subscription article]

In regional Australia, families (including children), attend community venues that contain gambling products, such as electronic gambling machines (EGMs), for a range of non-gambling reasons. However, there is a gap in research that seeks to understand how these venues may become embedded into family social practices. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and cultural capital, this paper aimed to explore factors that influence family decisions to attend venues and perceptions of risk associated with children’s exposure to gambling products. Face-to-face qualitative interviews were conducted with 31 parents who attended community gambling venues with their children, in New South Wales, Australia. Families attended venues for three key reasons, first because of the influence of others in their social networks, second for regular social activities and third because of structural factors such as a lack of alternative, affordable, family friendly environments in their local area. Despite recognizing the harm associated with EGMs, parents distanced themselves from EGM harm with all parents perceiving venues to be an appropriate space for families. Research in this study indicates that family social practices within venues affect perceptions of risk associated with community gambling venues. The impact of these practices on longer-term health requires more investigation by public health and health promotion researchers and practitioners. Health promotion initiatives should consider identifying alternative sources of support and/or developing alternative social spaces for families in regional communities that do not contain gambling products. Link to the article

Citation: Bestman, A., Thomas, S.L. Randle, M., Pitt, H., Cassidy, R., Daube, M. (2019). ‘Everyone knows grandma’. Pathways to gambling venues in regional Australia, Health Promotion International, , daz120,

Phenotypes in gambling disorder using sociodemographic and clinical clustering analysis: An unidentified new subtype?

Background: Gambling disorder (GD) is a heterogeneous disorder which has clinical manifestations that vary according to variables in each individual. Considering the importance of the application of specific therapeutic interventions, it is essential to obtain clinical classifications based on differentiated phenotypes for patients diagnosed with GD

Objectives: To identify gambling profiles in a large clinical sample of n = 2,570 patients seeking treatment for GD.

Methods: An agglomerative hierarchical clustering method defining a combination of the Schwarz Bayesian Information Criterion and log-likelihood was used, considering a large set of variables including sociodemographic, gambling, psychopathological, and personality measures as indicators.

Results: Three-mutually-exclusive groups were obtained. Cluster 1 (n = 908 participants, 35.5%), labeled as “high emotional distress,” included the oldest patients with the longest illness duration, the highest GD severity, and the most severe levels of psychopathology. Cluster 2 (n = 1,555, 60.5%), labeled as “mild emotional distress,” included patients with the lowest levels of GD severity and the lowest levels of psychopathology. Cluster 3 (n = 107, 4.2%), labeled as “moderate emotional distress,” included the youngest patients with the shortest illness duration, the highest level of education and moderate levels of psychopathology.

Conclusion: In this study, the general psychopathological state obtained the highest importance for clustering. Link to the article

Citation: Jiménez-Murcia, S., Granero, R., Fernández-Aranda, F., Stinchfield, R., Tremblay, J., Steward, T., Mestre-Bach, G., Lozano-Madrid, M., Mena-Moreno, T., Mallorquí-Bagué, N., Perales, J.C., Navas, J.F., Soriano-Mas, C., Aymamí, N., Gómez-Peña, M., Agüera, Z., del Pino-Gutiérrez, A., Martín-Romera, V., & Menchón, J.M. (2019). Phenotypes in Gambling Disorder Using Sociodemographic and Clinical Clustering Analysis: An Unidentified New Subtype? Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10(173). doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00173

Esports betting and skin gambling: a brief history [article]

The rising popularity of competitive video gaming (‘‘esports’’) has attracted the involvement of the gambling industry, with esports cash betting available from the majority of wagering operators. In addition, an unregulated gambling subculture around esports has arisen, with virtual game items known as ‘‘skins’’ being used as currency to place bets on esports and third-party sites that host games of chance. Little is presently known about these novel forms of gambling, although there are growing concerns that these products may place some vulnerable consumers (e.g., youth) at risk of gambling-related harm. The current paper provides a historical overview of esports betting and skin gambling globally, drawing on the limited research literature available, including academic journals, government publications, conference presentations, and media reports. Topics briefly covered in the review include esports, skins, history of the gambling products, gambling exposure and accessibility, research findings (e.g., prevalence, awareness, demographic characteristics, gambling behaviour, problem gambling), illegal activities, changes to skins and the skin gambling market, and industry and government responses to concerns arising from these new gambling products (e.g., underage gambling). The intention of this paper is to provide the general public, academics, governments, and other key stakeholders with an understanding of the evolving landscape around esports betting and skin gambling, the type of bettors that these forms of gambling attract, and the potential adverse consequences of these activities. Link to the article

Citation: Greer, N., Rockloff, M., Browne, M., Hing, N., & King, D.L. (2019). Esports betting and skin gambling: a brief history. Journal of Gambling Issues, 43.

Problem gambling among homeless clinic attenders [article]

Objective: To examine the relationship between problem gambling and homelessness.
Method: A consecutive sample of attenders at psychiatric clinics at three inner-city homeless hostels over 8.5 years. The demographic characteristics, comorbid conditions, pathway and pattern of homelessness of those identified to have problem gambling were compared with those who did not report problem gambling.
Results: A total of 2388 individuals were seen at the clinics in the 8 years of the study, of whom 289 (12.1%) reported problem gambling, mainly on poker machines. Those with problem gambling were more likely to be male, to have been married, employed for more than a year and to have a diagnosis of mood disorder. They were less likely to have a diagnosis of psychosis. However, the combination of psychosis and problem gambling was associated with the likelihood of having their financial affairs placed under the control of the Public Trustee.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that earlier attention to problem gambling might reduce the likelihood of becoming homeless, as well as the need for routine enquiry about gambling behaviour, measures to reduce gambling, including expert counselling, restrictions on the availability of addictive forms of gambling and assisting vulnerable individuals with money management. Link to the article

Citation: Machart, T., Cooper, L., Jones, N., Nielssen, A., Doughty, E., Staples, L., & Nielssen, O. (2019). Problem gambling among homeless clinic attenders. Australasian Psychiatry.

Secondary data analysis report an examination of the effects of problem gambling on retirement transitions [article]

Population aging represents a major demographic shift and older adults gamble at higher rates than ever before. However, little is known about the impact of gambling on retirement transitions. Therefore, we examined the consequences of recreational levels and problem levels of gambling for retirement timing and the stability of retirement. To better understand how the positive and negative consequences of gambling have an impact on retirement timing and the potential return to work for those in retirement, data were analyzed from the Quinte Longitudinal Study of Gambling and Problem Gambling (QLS; Williams et al., 2014). Logistic regression was used to predict retirement outcomes. Among people who were employed and aged 50 and over at baseline, problem gambling and gambling to socialize encouraged people to retire two years later; however, gambling to socialize at baseline was not associated with retirement four years later. For people who were retired and aged 55 and over at baseline, problem gambling did not pull them out of retirement two years or four years later. This study addressed the call for prospective research on the consequences of gambling (Desai, Desai, & Potenza, 2007). Findings are of value to problem gambling treatment and service providers, adults planning for or in retirement, and retirement planning professionals. Link to the article

Citation: Dawczyk, A., & Mock, S.E. (2019). Secondary data analysis report an examination of the effects of problem gambling on retirement transitions. Ontario: Gambling Research Exchange Ontario.

Similar roles for recovery capital but not stress in women and men recovering from gambling disorder [article]

Background: Understanding gender-related differences is important in recovery processes. Previous studies have investigated gender-related differences in factors associated with gambling disorder (GD), but none to date have considered both positive and negative resources related to recovery. Using a recovery capital (RC) framework that
considers multiple resources available during recovery, this study examined gender-related similarities and differences in associations between positive resources (RC, spirituality) and negative experiences and states (stressful life events, depression, and anxiety) and GD symptom improvement.

Method: One hundred and forty individuals with lifetime GD (101 men) were assessed using DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for GD (past-year and lifetime prior to past-year), the Brief Assessment of RC, the Intrinsic Spirituality Scale, the Stressful Life-events Scale, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale, and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 for depression. Multiple linear regression and Bayesian statistical analyses were conducted.

Results: RC was positively and significantly associated with GD symptom improvement in women and men. Stressful life events were negatively associated with GD symptom improvement only in men.

Conclusions: RC is an important positive resource for men and women recovering from GD and should be considered in treating both women and men. Understanding specific RC factors across gender groups and stressors, particularly in men, may aid in developing improved interventions for GD. Link to the article

Citation: Gavriel-Fried, B., Moretta, T., & Potenza, M.N. (2019). Similar roles for recovery capital but not stress in women and men recovering from gambling disorder. Journal of Behavioral Addictions 8(4), 770–779.