Deposit limit prompt in online gambling for reducing gambling intensity: A randomized controlled trial – open access online article.

Introduction: Pre-commitment tools – allowing users of gambling services to pre-set a limit for how much money they may spend – are relatively common. However, there exist no clear evidence of their effectiveness in preventing gamblers from spending more money than they otherwise planned. The aim of the study was to compare gambling intensity between users of an online gambling service prompted to set a deposit limit and non-prompted customers, both in the whole sample and among most active users based on the total number of gambling days. Prospective customers of a publicly governed gambling operator from Finland were randomized to receive a prompt to set a voluntary deposit limit of optional size either (1) at registration, (2) before or (3) after their first deposit, or (4) to an unprompted control condition.
Data on customers from Finland with online slots as a preferred gambling category (N = 4328) were tracked in the platform for 90 days starting at account registration, gambling intensity being measured with aggregated net loss. The intervention groups did not differ from each other in either proportion of participants with positive net loss or size of positive net loss. The pooled intervention group did not differ from the control group regarding proportion of gamblers with positive net loss (OR = 1.0; p = 0.921) or size of net loss (B = -0.1; p = 0.291).
The intervention groups had higher rates of limit-setters compared to the control condition (ORat-registration/pre-deposit/post-deposit = 11.9/9.2/4.1). Customers who have increased/removed a previously set deposit limit had higher net loss than the limit-setters who have not increased/removed their limit (Bat-registration/pre-deposit/post-deposit/control = 0.7/0.6/1.0/1.3), and unprompted limit-setters lost more than unprompted non-setters (B = 1.0).
Prompting online gamblers to set a voluntary deposit limit of optional size did not affect subsequent net loss compared to unprompted customers, motivating design and evaluation of alternative pre-commitment tools. Setting a deposit limit without a prompt or increasing/removing a previously set limit may be a marker of gambling problems and may be used to identify customers in need of help.
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Reference: Ivanova E., Magnusson K., & Carlbring P. (2019). Deposit limit prompt in online gambling for reducing gambling intensity: A randomized controlled trial. Frontiers in Psychology, 10:639. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00639

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Progress on Gambling harm reduction 2010 to 2017: Outcomes report – New Zealand strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm – online report from the Ministry of Health

Summary: Overall, the outcomes presented in this report show progress has been made in reducing gambling harm and inequalities in New Zealand. However, since approximately 2012 the downward movement in harm levels has plateaued. A range of research-based explanations for these outcomes has been identified and presented. Research has shown that the plateauing in harm reduction is not unique to New Zealand.
Progress has also been made across all of the 11 objectives set out in the Ministry’s integrated Strategy in a number of the areas, although challenges to further progress have been identified. These results imply that the current harm reduction activities should be reviewed and reinvigorated if the aim is to further reduce levels of gambling harm and inequities.
Access online report from the Ministry of Health

Reference: Ministry of Health. (2018). Progress on Gambling harm reduction 2010 to 2017: Outcomes report – New Zealand strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

A review of research into problem gambling amongst Australian women – book chapter available online

Abstract: Australian women have one of the highest levels of access to gambling of anywhere in the world. Problem gambling amongst Australian women is now a critical public health issue, fuelled by the widespread expansion of electronic gaming machines in casinos and suburban hotels and clubs, growth in alternative gambling products, the liberalisation of social attitudes to gambling, and increased financial and social independence of women. Recent increased access to gambling through the Internet and social media has also diversified women’s experience of gambling problems. However, research into Australian women’s gambling has been minimal, despite concerns about the feminisation of gambling. This chapter aims to review research into problem gambling amongst Australian women, highlighting key findings, limitations, gaps in knowledge, implications, and future research directions.
Drawing on three decades of Australian research, including prevalence studies, in-depth qualitative studies and clinical studies, women’s gambling behaviour, motivations, problem gambling, help-seeking, treatment and support are examined. Comparisons between male and female problem gamblers, and between female recreational and female problem gamblers, will highlight distinctive aspects of women’s problem gambling. This review will deepen understanding, inform gambling policy and public health and clinical responses, and facilitate international comparisons.
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Reference: SHing, N., Nuske, E., & Breen, H. (2019). A review of research into problem gambling amongst Australian women. In, Problem gambling in women: An international perspective. Lismore, Australia: Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University.

Exploring the relationship between individual gambling behaviour and accessibility to gambling venues in New Zealand – online open-access thesis

Abstract: Gambling is an important recreational activity in New Zealand, with high levels of participation by the general public. Although gambling activities are an important source of employment and a means of raising funds for various community and sporting purposes, gambling on electronic gambling machines (EGMs), both in casino and non-casino venues are known to be correlated with gambling-related harm, resulting in higher levels of personal, familial, health and societal problems.
After undertaking a review of relevant literature on participation in gambling activities and accessibility to gambling venues, it was found that although studies examining the accessibility of venues with EGMs have been researched to some extent in an overseas context, studies pertaining to such venues in New Zealand have been limited. This study therefore aimed to investigate the link between accessibility to gambling venues with EGMs, including distance-wise proximity to such venues and the number of these venues within a certain distance, and their impact on gambling behaviour of individuals.
Thesis available online via AUT Library

Reference: Bonamis, A.E. (2019). Exploring the relationship between individual gambling behaviour and accessibility to gambling venues in New Zealand (Doctoral dissertation, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand). Retrieved from https://openrepository.aut.ac.nz/handle/10292/12380

National market protectionist gambling policies in the European Union: The Finnish gambling monopoly merger as a case in point.


Available online – Policy paper published in the Journal of Gambling Issues.


Abstract: A rapidly growing globalized and digitalized gambling industry has compelled European jurisdictions to take action in order to secure some level of gambling market control, to secure public funds from gambling, and to protect citizens from gambling-related harm. This study concerns the market protectionist endeavour to merge three gambling operators into one state-owned monopoly in Finland in 2017. The justification of the systemic change is analysed in key policy documents and media reporting that discerns the political narratives that nudged the monopoly merger from the idea stage to its completion. Within the narratives, the merger is presented as necessary due to the threats of market intrusion by foreign gambling operators and the likelihood of an internal system implosion framed by European Union (EU) law. The worries expressed in the studied materials plug into a general zeitgeist of globalization. The justifications of the systemic change presuppose the inevitable determination of the change and an innate and constant human desire to gamble. Critical views on the merger were introduced in the media at a late stage, stressing the role of the media as a facilitator and manufacturer of political consent. The study demonstrates how market protectionist justifications can, through the maintenance of a regulated gambling market, assure preservation of national public funds obtained from gambling in the EU. The official gambling policy objective of securing public health played a secondary role in the process. Full article

Reference: Selin, J., Hellman, M. & Lerkkanen, T. (2019). National market protectionist gambling policies in the European Union: The Finnish gambling monopoly merger as a case in point. Journal of Gambling Issues, 41. Retrieved from http://jgi.camh.net/index.php/jgi/article/view/4040.

Measuring gambling knowledge in adolescents: The construction of a new short scale for research and practice.


Available online Research article from Mental Health and Addiction Research via Open Access Text.


Abstract: Several studies show that many adolescents gamble and a considerable proportion of them develop pathological gambling behavior. It has been shown that adolescents often have erroneous gambling knowledge, for example they are not aware of the technical definition of gambling activities or perceive gambling as a social and recreational activity. Nevertheless, nowadays there is a lack of measurement tools with adequate psychometric properties to assess gambling knowledge in adolescents. For this reason, the aim of the present study was to develop a new instrument able to evaluate this specific construct with a sample of Italian adolescents, the Gambling Related Knowledge Scale – For Adolescents (GRKS-A). In order to develop the scale and test its psychometric properties, 445 Italian adolescents participated in the study. The final version of the scale was composed of 8 items. Analyses confirmed the adequacy of the one-factor model and the reliability of this short scale. Support for the validity was also provided by obtaining significant and negative correlations with cognitive distortions, gambling economic perception, and gambling frequency. Moreover, the additional predictive power of GRKS-A on gambling frequency – with respect to the other variables – was demonstrated. Overall, findings support the suitability of the GRKS-A to measure gambling-related knowledge in research and practice involving adolescents. Full article

Reference: Donati, M.A., Beccari, C., Biganzoli, A., Tadini, M., Capitanucci, D., Smaniotto, R., & Primi, C. (2019). Measuring gambling knowledge in adolescents: The construction of a new short scale for research and practice. Mental Health and Addiction Research, 4. doi: 10.15761/MHAR.1000173

The treatment of gambling disorder: A comprehensive (socio-psychological-neurobiological) explanation and therapy model?


Available online working paper made available via the Social Science Open Access Repository.


Summary: In this theoretical work, we present the clinical picture of pathological gambling, an etiological explanatory model and resulting therapeutic implications. Social, psychological and physiological factors are included. The “addiction model” also distinguishes between factors relevant to the onset and continuation of disturbed gambling behavior. Multifactorial causes must be postulated in the “entry phase” of the behavior. During the actual “addiction phase“, the self-perpetuating disturbed gambling behavior is characterized by a strong mental dependence and a nearly autonomously triggered addiction behavior (loss of control) associated with structural changes in the deeper brain areas of the „reward system“. There is an “irresistible urge” to continue gambling, upheld not least by a dominance of gambling behavior in the reward system and the accompanying dysfunction of this area of the brain.

At the beginning of therapy, the focus lies on the addictive behavior itself. The symptoms that developed last are the ones that are first incorporated into the therapy consideration, whereby the therapeutic goals are to be set in a certain order: (a) Motivation, withdrawal symptoms after the patient stopped gambling, (b) insight into the disease (do not deny further) and its acceptance, (c) consolidation of the abstinence through a treatment of the causes of disease development. Dependence means not having sufficient alternatives. The reconstruction of the reward system and the development of a wide range of varied alternatives are an important prerequisite for avoiding relapse and achieving a balanced and satisfied way of life. Eliminating the dominance of gambling in the reward system and strongly anchoring the desired potently rewardable alternatives in behavior is associated with significant psychological and physiological resistance. The adrenaline rush of gambling is not easily compensated and cannot be replaced with lukewarm water or realistic thinking. Problems of implementing desired behavioral changes have not yet been sufficiently taken into account and there is a lack of necessary research. Are there any obligatory treatment factors? Full article

Reference: Bachmann, M., Bachmann, A.A., & Frensemeier, S. (2019). The treatment of gambling disorder: A comprehensive (socio-psychological-neurobiological) explanation and therapy model? Retrieved from https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:0168- ssoar-61824-8