The near-miss effect in slot machines: A review and experimental analysis over half a century later [open-access article].

Abstract: In games of chance, a near miss is said to occur when feedback for a loss approximates a win. For instance, obtaining “cherry–cherry–lemon” on a slot machine could be considered a near miss. Sixty-six years ago, B.F. Skinner first proposed the idea that near-miss events might reinforce continued play in slot machines, and despite some inconsistencies in the experimental literature, belief in this “near-miss effect” has remained strong. In the present manuscript, we will review this literature and present experimental assessments of the near-miss effect on the frequency of the gambling response. Experiment 1 used a tightly controlled resistance-to-extinction procedure in pigeons to evaluate the putative reinforcing effect of near misses relative to a control “far-miss” reel pattern. Experiment 2 extended Experiment 1’s procedure to human participants. The results of both experiments failed to support the near-miss effect hypothesis. Experiment 3 used a further simplified procedure to assess the validity of the resistance-to-extinction paradigm when a probable conditional reinforcer was present on the reel stimuli. Although a clear conditional response was obtained from the reel, subsequent testing in extinction revealed no conditionally reinforcing function of this stimulus on operant response frequencyArticle available online

Citation: Pisklak, J.M., Yong, J.J.H. & Spetch, M.L. (2019). The near-miss effect in slot machines: A review and experimental analysis over half a century later. Journal of Gambling Studies. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-019-09891-8

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What can be done to reduce the public stigma of gambling disorder? Lessons from other stigmatised conditions [subscription access article].

Abstract: Gambling is embedded in Australian cultural history, and perceived as a normal, legitimate leisure activity. Despite this normalisation, people who experience gambling problems are heavily stigmatised which can lead to a variety of harms that extend beyond the individual. The stigma from the general public appears to be based on a stereotype of a typical “problem gambler”—selfish, greedy, impulsive and irresponsible. However, research suggests that people experiencing gambling problems have widely varying characteristics and do not conform to this stereotype. Regardless of whether the stigma is justified, it is both present and problematic. Gamblers experiencing problems delay help-seeking due to feelings of shame and, not unwarranted, expectations of negative judgement because of the heavy stigma associated with the stereotype. As stigma is a primary barrier to treatment and a reason why gambling problems can take longer to acknowledge, it is important to understand and address how stigma can be reduced to minimise the negative consequences of gambling on individuals, their families and friends and the wider community. There is little research on reducing gambling-related stigma, so there is a need to examine strategies used in other stigmatised conditions, such as mental health, to understand the general principles of effective stigma reduction measures. Because gambling disorder is unique, well-hidden and consequently not well understood, there is a need to recognise that techniques used in other domains may differ in their effectiveness within the context of gambling stigma. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Brown, K.L., & Russell, A.M.T. What can be done to reduce the public stigma of gambling disorder? Lessons from other stigmatised conditions. Journal of Gambling Studies. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-019-09890-9.

Behavioural tracking, responsible gambling tools, and online voluntary self-exclusion: Implications for problem gamblers [open-access article].

[Introduction]: Technology has made a substantial impact on gambling over the past decade. Consequently, online gambling has seen major growth via the availability and convenience of the internet and through innovative technology that has made remote gambling possible. Online gambling provides convenience and the ability to gamble from home and the workplace (Griffiths, 2009a). The rapid expansion in internet gambling has meant that gambling regulation has often lagged behind. For instance, online gambling and the lack of regulation at a European Union level has opened the possibility for gambling business to be offered to consumers from remote locations. An illustration of this is the large number of gambling operators that reside in Malta where these operators abide by license requirements which are imposed by the local Maltese authority, rendering borderless gambling possible (Auer & Griffiths, 2013a). Article available online

Citation: Bonello, M., & Griffiths, M. (2019). Behavioural tracking, responsible gambling tools, and online voluntary self-exclusion: Implications for problem gamblers. Casino and Gaming International. Retrieved from http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/37638/1/14799_Griffiths.pdf

Adolescent gambling, gambling expenditure and gambling–related harms in Finland, 2011–2017 [open-access article].

Abstract: Existing literature on recent trends in adolescent gambling is scarce. The rapidly changing landscape of gambling, together with the generally applied legal age limits, calls for the continuous monitoring of gambling also among the adolescent population. In Finland, the legal gambling age is 18. We examined changes in adolescents’ gambling, gambling expenditure and gambling–related harms from 2011 to 2017. Comparable cross-sectional biennial survey data were collected in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 among 12–18-year-olds (N = 18,857). The main measures were self-reported six-month gambling, average weekly gambling expenditure (€) and harms due to gambling. Data were analyzed using cross-tabulations, χ2-tests and linear regression analysis. A significant decline in gambling among minors (aged 12–16-year-olds) was found (β = − 0.253), while no significant changes were observed among 18-year-olds (who are not targeted by the law). The mean gambling expenditure also declined from 2011 to 2017. Adolescent gamblers experienced significantly less (p = .003) gambling–related harms in 2017 (7.4%) compared to 2011 (13.5%). Adolescent gambling and its related negative consequences have become less prevalent in Finland between 2011 and 2017. Further monitoring is necessary to ascertain whether the positive direction will continue. Also, empirical analyses providing evidence of reasons for the observed trend are warrantedArticle available online

Citation: Raisamo, S., Kinnunen, J.M., Pere, L. et al. (2019). Adolescent gambling, gambling expenditure and gambling–related harms in Finland, 2011–2017. Journal of Gambling Studies. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-019-09892-7

Measure and mechanism for online gambling Restrictions in foreign countries and guidelines on building Thailand online gambling restrictions mechanism [open-access article].

AbstractThe objective of this research is to explore body of knowledge arising from experience in foreign jurisdictions on legal measures and mechanisms for controlling online gambling in order to propose guidelines for their reformations and improvements for application on online gambling in Thailand.
The research method can be divided into two parts. The first part is the review of Thai laws pertaining to online gambling and other relevant laws that can be applied in such case. The second part is the comparative study of the laws from foreign jurisdictions. From the study, it was found that Thailand has no specific legal provisions for controlling online gambling. However, there are laws that apply to either the Gambling Act or other laws relating to gambling which does not cover the complexity of the online gambling business.
Knowledge from facts and legal contexts obtained from foreign experiences reflects guidelines for improving measures or legal mechanisms that can be used to control online gambling in Thailand. There are two measures. First, the short-term measures should be promoted by amending the law by authorizing state officials to have the power to suspend the dissemination of information or to block websites about online gambling in accordance with Section 20 (3) Act on Computer Offenses, BE 2017, encouraging staff to be knowledgeable and have expertise in technology offenses, protecting children and youth by using surveillance measures and punishing offenders involved in the case of children. The long-term measures include amendments to the law by having a committee that acts specifically to play a role in online gambling directly, rules for asking for permission by following qualifications of applicants and conditions, and penalties to enhance the effectiveness and clarity of laws in controlling online gambling. Article available online

Citation: ศรีสุวรรณพ. (2019). Measure and mechanism for online gambling Restrictions in foreign countries and guidelines on building Thailand online gambling restrictions mechanism. The Academic Journal: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Nakhonsawan Rajabhat University, 6(1), 439-465. Retrieved from https://www.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/hssnsru/article/view/213093

Convergence study on the effects of stress and gambling change motivation on gambling abstinence self-efficacy among college students using gambling [open-access article].

Abstract: This study was attempted to identify the convergence factors that affected the gambling abstinence self-efficacy among college students using gambling. The participants were 134 students with gambling experience at two universities in C city and G city. The results of this study are as follows. Stress(r=-.314, p<.001) and gambling change motivation(r=.272, p=.001) showed a significant correlation with gambling abstinence self-efficacy in correlation analysis. The greatest influence on gambling abstinence self-efficacy in multiple regression analysis was identified in order of stress(β=−.29β=−.29, p<.001), gambling change motivation (β=.25β=.25, p=.003). The results of this study suggest that a gambling prevention education program which can manage stress and strengthen the gambling change motivation of college students using gambling is needed to improve the gambling abstinence self-efficacy. Article available online

Citation: Jung-Hyun, C., Jeong-Suk, K., & Seong-Ui, K. (2019). Convergence study on the effects of stress and gambling change motivation on gambling abstinence self-efficacy among college students using gambling. Journal of Convergence for Information Technology, 9(6), 19-25. Retrieved from http://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO201918454913874.page

Reward reactivity and dark flow in slot-machine gambling: “Light” and “dark” routes to enjoyment [open-access article].

Background and aims: Slot machines are a very popular form of gambling. In this study, we look at two different routes to enjoying slots play. One route involves the degree to which players react to rewards. The other route involves what we call dark flow – a pleasurable, but maladaptive state where players become completely engrossed in slots play, providing an escape from the depressing thoughts that characterize their everyday lives.

Methods: One hundred and twenty-nine high-frequency slots players were tested on slot-machine simulators set up in the lobby of a casino. We measured reward reactivity using post-reinforcement pauses (PRPs) and the force with which players pressed the spin button following different slot-machine outcomes. For each player, we calculated the slopes of PRPs and force as a function of credit gains. We also assessed players’ slots game enjoyment and their experience of dark flow, depression, and problem gambling.

Results: Both the PRP and the force measures of reward reactivity were significantly correlated with players’ enjoyment of the slots session, but neither measure was correlated with either problem gambling or depression. Ratings of dark flow were strongly correlated with slots enjoyment (which accounted for far more positive affect variance than the reward reactivity measures) and were correlated with both problem gambling scores and depression.

Discussion and conclusions: Our results suggest that of these two routes to enjoying slot-machine play, the dark flow route is especially problematic. We contend that the dark flow state may be enjoyable because it provides escape from the negative thoughts linked to depressionArticle available online

Citation: Dixon, M.J., Gutierrez, J., Larche, C.J., Stange, M., Graydon, C., Kruger, T.B., & Smith, S.D. (2019). Reward reactivity and dark flow in slot-machine gambling: “Light” and “dark” routes to enjoyment. Journal of Behavioral Addictions. doi: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.38