Gauge your gambling: the acceptability and feasibility of a brief online motivational enhancement for non-treatment seeking problem gamblers (open access thesis)

By Amanda E. R. Robinson. (2018). A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies  for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Windsor.

Those who struggle to control their gambling have been shown to experience a number of adverse consequences. Despite these difficulties, only a small percentage of problematic gamblers ever seek gambling treatment or services. As technology advances there is growing evidence that brief online interventions may be efficacious with this population. The present study tested the feasibility and acceptability of a new brief online intervention for those who struggle with their gambling. The intervention was theoretically based on the Health Belief Model, the Transtheoretical Model, and
Motivational Interviewing. Participants completed a series of questionnaires about their gambling behaviours, perceived control over gambling, beliefs about their gambling problems, motivation for change and change efforts, and experienced and expected consequences of continued gambling. They also received personalized and normative comparison feedback.

The development and administration of the online intervention was inexpensive relative to in person services but did encountered several technical difficulties. In total, 204 participants provided some data. Of those who accessed the website approximately two-thirds were experiencing one or more symptoms of Gambling Disorder. Participants generally found the website acceptable, however, there was a high within-intervention attrition rate. Most participants were in the contemplation stage of change and had low perceived gambling refusal self-efficacy. Perceived severity and perceived benefits from the Health Belief Model were found to account for 76% of the variance in the intent to seek help. There was a small partial mediation effect for readiness to change on the relationship between perceived severity and the intent to seek help. There was insufficient follow-up data to support statistical analysis of outcome GAUGE YOUR GAMBLING v variables. The website attracted the target population for the most part, however, future researchers will want to consider methods of increasing engagement and follow-up in this population such as increased incentives. Participants rated the website positively and case study data at follow-up suggest that further testing of brief online interventions such as Gauge Your Gambling is warranted. Access thesis


Gambling expenditure by game type among weekly gamblers in Finland (open access article)

Anne H. Salonen, Jukka Kontto, Riku Perhoniemi, Hannu Alho and Sari Castrén. (2018). BMC Public Health 18(697).

Excessive expenditure and financial harms are core features of problem gambling. There are various forms of gambling and their nature varies. The aim was to measure gambling expenditure by game type while controlling for demographics and other gambling participation factors. A further aim was to find out how each game type was associated with gambling expenditure when the number of game types played is adjusted for.

It seems that overall gambling frequency is the strongest indicator of high gambling expenditure. Our results showed that different game types had different effect sizes on gambling expenditure. Weekly gambling on horse races and non-monopoly games had the greatest increasing effect on expenditure. However, different game types also varied based on their popularity. The extent of potential harms caused by high expenditure therefore also varies on the population level. Based on our results, future prevention and harm minimization efforts should be tailored to different game types for greater effectiveness. Full article

Impacts of gambling on young Aboriginal people in Gippsland and East Gippsland: an exploratory study (online report)

Kathleen Maltzahn, Ashlee Robertson, Ann Briggs, Clare Haussegger,
Mary Whiteside and Sarah MacLean / La Trobe University; study funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF).

From this research, gambling appears widespread and popular in the Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal community, including among young people. Community members identify the positive aspects of gambling, and also see the harm, including for young people and children. It is also clear that for a range of important reasons, young people and the broader community have some concerns about discussing gambling harm. However, it is apparent from this research that gambling is closely connected to other issues that services and community members are seeking to address (from drug and alcohol to mental illness to children’s welfare and poverty and deprivation), and that gambling is both a cause and a consequence of problems in these areas. Full report

Treatment for Disordered Gambling: Current Evidence and Recommendations (open access article)

Littman-Sharp, N. (2017). Gambling Research Exchange Ontario. Retrieved from

Disordered gambling treatment programming has developed rapidly in the last 20-25 years in response to the need engendered by the proliferation of legal casinos. Research on treatment effectiveness has also expanded. One of the most important elements of good clinical practice is an up to date understanding of evidence-based practices. Research can inform practitioners of new modalities, and of refinements on current modalities. It can indicate training needs, and identify cost-effective methods of treatment that make best use of available resources. Treatment research also acts as an important reminder of the need to measure clients’ progress and outcomes, and to adjust services to maximize their success.

The disordered gambling field benefits greatly from a robust exchange between clinical work and research. This paper will provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on disordered gambling treatment, and identify its gaps and limitations, particularly from the point of view of treatment providers. Researchers have evaluated a number of approaches to disordered gambling treatment. These include cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, brief interventions, self-help, mindfulness meditation, family interventions, pharmacotherapy, online interventions, treatments specialized for women, and mutual aid. There are also studies comparing modalities, or combining them – an approach that is perhaps closer to what occurs in the real world. Access full article

Are Video Games a Gateway to Gambling? A Longitudinal Study Based on a Representative Norwegian Sample [open access article]

Molde, H., Holmøy, B., Merkesdal, A.G. et al. (2018). Journal of Gambling Studies:

Abstract: The scope and variety of video games and monetary gambling opportunities are expanding rapidly. In many ways, these forms of entertainment are converging on digital and online video games and gambling sites. However, little is known about the relationship between video gaming and gambling. The present study explored the possibility of a directional relationship between measures of problem gaming and problem gambling, while also controlling for the influence of sex and age. In contrast to most previous investigations which are based on cross-sectional designs and non-representative samples, the present study utilized a longitudinal design conducted over 2 years (2013, 2015) and comprising 4601 participants (males 47.2%, age range 16–74) drawn from a random sample from the general population. Video gaming and gambling were assessed using the Gaming Addiction Scale for Adolescents and the Canadian Problem Gambling Index, respectively. Using an autoregressive cross-lagged structural equation model, we found a positive relationship between scores on problematic gaming and later scores on problematic gambling, whereas we found no evidence of the reverse relationship. Hence, video gaming problems appear to be a gateway behavior to problematic gambling behavior. In future research, one should continue to monitor the possible reciprocal behavioral influences between gambling and video gaming. Access full article

Prevalence, risk factors, and psychosocial adjustment of problematic gambling in adolescents: Results from two representative German samples [open access article]

Journal of Behavioral Addictions: DOI: 10.1556/2006.7.2018.37

Abstract: Background and aims
Gambling disorder is a significant public health concern. Especially, male minors have been shown to gamble in a problematic way, despite legal prohibitions.

We examined representative samples of students aged from 12 to 18 years (N = 9,309) in two German federal states to provide prevalence data and clinical description of risk factors for problematic gambling.

We found that about 40% of the adolescents reported engaging in gambling activities within the past 12 months and found prevalence rates of 1.7% and 2.2% for problematic gambling. Especially, use of online gambling and slot machines was found to be related to problematic gambling. Male adolescents with a migration background were of higher risk for problematic gambling and psychopathological symptoms were significantly elevated among that group.

The results indicate that participation in gambling activities is common among underaged adolescents and that prevalence of problematic gambling exceeds rates of adults. Similarly, problematic gambling is associated with increased psychopathological strain.

Given that a high proportion of adult gamblers report having started gambling in adolescents, our data emphasize the need for prevention and early intervention strategies for problematic gambling. Access full article

Do ‘environmental bads’ such as alcohol, fast food, tobacco, and gambling outlets cluster and co-locate in more deprived areas in Glasgow City, Scotland? [open access article]

Laura Macdonald, Jonathan R.Olsen, Niamh K. Shortt, Anne Ellaway (2018). Health & Place.

Abstract: This study utilised an innovative application of spatial cluster analysis to examine the socio-spatial patterning of outlets selling potentially health-damaging goods/services, such as alcohol, fast food, tobacco and gambling, within Glasgow City, Scotland. For all categories of outlets combined, numbers of clusters increased linearly from the least to the most income deprived areas (i.e. one cluster within the least deprived quintile to ten within the most deprived quintile). Co-location of individual types of outlets (alcohol, fast food, tobacco and gambling) within similar geographical areas was also evident. This type of research could influence interventions to tackle the co-occurrence of unhealthy behaviours and contribute to policies tackling higher numbers of ‘environmental bads’ within deprived areas. Continue reading