An analysis of consumer protection for gamblers across different online gambling operators in Ireland: A descriptive study [open access via ResearchGate]

Abstract: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the responsible gambling tools which are available to online gamblers at Irish online gambling websites. The present study used a similar methodology to a recent study carried out on the world’s most popular websites (Bonello and Griffiths Gaming Law Review and Economics, 21, 278–285, 2017), where 50 of the most advertised online gambling websites were evaluated in relation to their responsible gambling (RG) practices.

The present study evaluated 39 gambling websites with either a “.ie” or “.com/ie” domain. Each website was evaluated by checking for a number of RG practices, including presence of a dedicated RG page; age verification; access to gambling account history; the availability of RG tools, such as limit setting facilities and exclusion settings; and links to limit-setting options on the deposit page. Descriptive statistics were then performed on the results from each website. Of the 39 online gambling operators identified, 22 redirected gamblers to a “.com” domain, while 17 operators remained as a “.ie” domain. Thirty-five websites (89.7%) visited had a dedicated RG page.

Responsible gambling features were evaluated and demonstrated to be available in an inconsistent manner across online gambling websites. Irish websites were shown to perform poorly in comparison with non-Irish counterparts in the provision of RG tools. The researchers of the present study are not aware of any similar studies conducted to date in Ireland. Link to the article

Citation: Cooney, Caoimhe & Columb, David & Costa, Joao & Griffiths, Mark & O’Gara, Colin. (2018). An Analysis of Consumer Protection for Gamblers Across Different Online Gambling Operators in Ireland: A Descriptive Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. 10.1007/s11469-018-9968-7.

Responsible gambling: A scoping review [open access article]

Abstract – Gambling markets have drastically expanded over the past 35 years. Pacing this expansion has been the articulation of a governance framework that largely places responsibility for regulating gambling-related harms upon individuals. This framework, often defined with reference to the concept of responsible gambling (RG), has faced significant criticism, emphasizing public health and consumer protection issues. To study both the articulation and critique of the concept of responsible gambling, we conducted a ‘scoping review’ of the literature (Arksey & O’Malley 2005).

Literature was identified through searches on academic databases using a combination of search terms. Articles were independently reviewed by two researchers. Findings indicate 142 publications with a primary focus on responsible gambling,  with a high volume of publications coming from the disciplinary backgrounds of the first authors representing the fields of psychology, business, and psychiatric medicine. Further, publication key themes address topics such as responsible gambling tools and interventions, corporate social responsibility and accountability, responsible gambling concepts and descriptions, and to a lesser extent, critiques of responsible gambling.

The scoping review of the literature related to responsible gambling suggests the need to foster research conditions to invite more critical and interdisciplinary scholarship in an effort to improve public health and consumer protection. Link to the article

Citation: Reynolds, J., Kairouz, S., Ilacqua, S., & French, M. (2020). Responsible Gambling: A Scoping Review. Critical Gambling Studies1(1), 23-39. Retrieved from http://www.criticalgamblingstudies.com/index.php/cgs/article/view/42

Regulating loot boxes as gambling? Perspectives from Psychology, Behavioural Economics and Ludology [open access publication]

Abstract: Loot boxes are virtual items in video games which represent a popular contemporary monetisation innovation that offers the purchasing player-consumer, who always pays a set amount of money for each attempt, the opportunity to obtain randomised virtual in-game rewards of uncertain in-game and real-world value. The popularisation of loot boxes has caused a shift in the business model of the video game industry to rely significantly on microtransactions, such as loot boxes, rather than title sales to monetise. Loot boxes have been subject to regulatory scrutiny because their randomised nature is akin to gambling.

The regulation of loot boxes is a current and challenging international public policy and consumer protection issue. This paper reviews and applies the psychology and behavioural economics literature on loot boxes to establish the abusive nature and potential harms of loot boxes, which justify their regulation. Informed by game design and using examples from recent games, this paper extends the ludology literature on loot boxes to identify various different implementations of loot boxes and the differing nature of their respective potential harms.

This paper argues that, currently, regulators and academics have not subjected each implementation of loot boxes to sufficient regulation and scrutiny. This paper reviews the effects of national loot box regulations and general video gaming regulations in European and Asian countries in order to recommend that loot boxes which involve real-world money should be regulated as gambling, and that a variety of ethical game design measures should be implemented to further ensure consumer protection. Link to the article

Citation: Xiao, L. (2020, April 13). Regulating Loot Boxes as Gambling? Perspectives from Psychology, Behavioural Economics and Ludology. https://doi.org/10.31228/osf.io/cdr69

Response trajectories of gambling severity after cognitive behavioral therapy in young-adult pathological gamblers [open access article]

Abstract
Background and aims: The significant increase in the prevalence of gambling disorder (GD) among young adults in recent years has attracted interest in determining therapeutic efficiency in this sector of the population. The aim of this work was to estimate the response trajectories of gambling severity during the six-month follow-up after a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program in young adult patients and to identify the main variables associated with each trajectory.

Methods: The sample included n 5 192 patients, aged 19–35 years old, seeking treatment for GD. Response trajectories were identified through latent class growth analysis.

Results: Three trajectories emerged: T1 (n 5 118, 61.5%), composed of patients with severe GD at pre-treatment and good evolution to recovery; T2 (n 5 62, 32.3%), with patients with moderate-high GD affectation at baseline and good evolution to recovery; and T3 (n 5 12, 6.3%), with participants with severe baseline GD severity and poor evolution after CBT (Abbott, 2019). The highest risk of poor therapeutic outcomes was related to lower social index positions, high emotional distress, high scores in harm avoidance and low scores in self-directedness.

Discussion and conclusions: Differences in the response trajectories at short-term follow-up after CBT reveal heterogeneity in the samples including young and young-adult GD patients. Patients’ phenotype at baseline should be considered when developing efficient, person-centered intervention programs, which should comprise strategies aimed at increasing emotional regulation capacities, self-esteem and self-efficacy, with the aim of avoiding relapses in the medium-long term after therapy. Link to the article

Citation: Granero, R., Valero-Solis, S., Fernández-Aranda, F., Gómez-Peña, M., Moragas, L., Mena-Moreno. & Murcia, S.J. (2020). Response trajectories of gambling severity after cognitive behavioral therapy in young-adult pathological gamblers. Journal of Behavioral Addiction, 9(1), 140-152. Retrieved from https://akjournals.com

Perceived social stigmatisation of gambling disorders and coping with stigma [open access article]

Abstract
Aim: This study concerns perceived social stigmatisation of gambling disorder and its determinants, the self-perceptions of people with gambling disorder (self-stigma) and how they cope with stigma.

Design: In total, 30 interviews with persons with gambling disorder and 60 with professionals were conducted. Selective sampling procedures were employed in the recruitment phase. In the case of professionals, the inclusion criteria were employment in facilities where treatment of gambling disorder is offered, and profession. For people with gambling disorder, the criterion was a diagnosis confirmed by a psychiatrist.

Results: Elements revealed in past research on stigma-creation processes were reflected in respondents’ statements. The type of gambling, the occurrence of negative consequences, the possibility of hiding, personal responsibility, social status and contact with stigmatised populations are perceived determinants of problem gamblers’ stigmatisation. Gambling disorder sufferers experience anxiety associated with the possibility of rejection and a fear related to their condition being revealed to others. Various manifestations of cognitive distancing and hiding were coping mechanisms identified in the study.

Conclusions: People with gambling disorder experience anxiety associated with the possibility of rejection, and they often conceal their disorder, which may hinder their treatment. Therefore the issue of stigma should be addressed in therapy. Link to the article

Citation: Dąbrowska, K. & Wieczorek, Ł. (2020). Perceived social stigmatisation of gambling disorders and coping with stigma. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 1–19.

Stress and gambling [open access article]

Abstract: Gambling is a multi-billion-dollar industry that many people engage with on a regular basis with no adverse effects. For many, gambling is a fun hobby that does not negatively impact their lives. There is, however, a significant minority whose gambling is maladaptive and causes significant adverse consequences, which may lead to personal and financial devastation. Stress and how one responds to stress may be a significant factor in determining who may gamble with impunity versus those who lose control and develop gambling disorder. In this paper, we outline three points at which stress and gambling intersect: 1) gambling to escape stress, 2) gambling as a stressor, and 3) altered stress physiology as a predisposing factor for gambling disorder. Below we describe these intersections and how they may influence the development and maintenance of gambling disorder. Link to the article

Citation: Buchanan, T.W., McMullin, S.D., Baxley, C., & Weinstock, J. (2020). Stress and gambling. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 31, 8-12. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352154619301032

Once online poker, always online poker? Poker modality trajectories over two years [open access article]

Abstract: Online poker is considered more at-risk than land-based poker in terms of intense gambling behaviors and gambling problems. The development of many online gambling sites has raised public health concerns about the potential increase in online poker players. Longitudinal studies are useful to better understand the evolution of gambling behaviors; however, very few consider online poker players. Using a prospective design, this study aims to identify online and land-based trajectories over a two-year period and the factors influencing those trajectories …

Over two years, three poker playing trajectories were identified, comprising two stable trajectories [stable land-based (51.5%) and stable online (36.3%)] and an unstable trajectory [unstable online land-based (12.1%)]. The second trajectory included online poker players at baseline who transitioned to land-based poker. Number of gambling activities increased the odds of being in the first trajectory as compared to the others. Severity of gambling problems was a significant predictor of the second “unstable” or the third “stable online” trajectories, but not for the first “stable land-based” poker trajectory.

The majority of poker players remained in either the land-based or online trajectories over two years. No poker players transitioned from land-based to online poker. Link to the article

Citation: Magali Dufour, et al., Addictive Behaviors Reports, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2020.100251