Do EGMs have a stronger association with problem gambling than racing and casino table games? Evidence from a decade of Australian prevalence studies [subscription access article]

Although it is often assumed that electronic gaming machines (EGMs) are associated with the highest level of risk, it has proved difficult to find reliable evidence in support of this proposition. In this paper, we analysed statistics from major Australian community prevalence studies for the period 2011–2020 to investigate whether EGMs (in comparison to racing and casino table games) have a stronger association with problem gambling.

All prevalence studies reviewed used telephone sampling and the Problem Gambling Severity Index to assess problem gambling. In this paper, we examine the principal hypothesis using several lines of evidence, including whether problem gamblers are more likely to gamble and gamble regularly on EGMs as opposed to racing and casino games and if the EGM-problem gambling association was maintained after controlling for other forms of participation.

Results showed that of all gambling activities, EGMs do appear to have the strongest association with problem gambling. Despite having a disproportionately higher level of participation on racing and casino games as compared with other gamblers, problem gamblers are more likely to report regular or weekly participation in EGM gambling and this may be the reason why this activity emerges most strongly as a predictor of problem gambling in multivariate models. This finding is particularly salient, given the very high prevalence of EGM participation, compared to other risky gambling forms.

The findings underscore the importance of survey reporting that presents results in a form that can inform policy relevant research relating to the potential impact of different gambling activities. Article details and access options

Citation: Delfabbro, P., King, D.L., Browne, M. et al. Do EGMs have a Stronger Association with Problem Gambling than Racing and Casino Table Games? Evidence from a Decade of Australian Prevalence Studies. J Gambl Stud (2020).

Gambling in young adults aged 17–24 years: A population-based study [open access article]

A large contemporary UK cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, was used to investigate gambling behavior and to explore the antecedents of regular gambling in the 17–24-year age group. Participants completed computer-administered gambling surveys in research clinics, on paper, and online. The sample sizes were 3566 at age 17 years, 3940 at 20 years, and 3841 at 24 years; only 1672 completed all three surveys. Participation in gambling in the last year was reported by 54% of 17-year-olds, rising to 68% at 20 years, and 66% at 24 years, with little overall variance. Regular (weekly) gambling showed a strong gender efect, increasing among young men from 13% at 17 years to 18% at 20 years, and 17% at 24 years. Although gambling frequency increased between the ages of 17 and 20 years, gambling behaviors showed little variance between 20 and 24 years, except online gambling and betting on horseraces. The commonest forms of gambling were playing scratchcards, playing the lottery, and private betting with friends. Gambling on activities via the internet increased markedly between 17 and 24 years, especially among males. In the fully adjusted model, individual antecedents of regular gambling were being male, and having a low IQ, an external locus of control, and high sensation seeking scores. Parental gambling behavior and maternal educational background were associated with regular gambling in both sexes. Regular gambling was associated with smoking cigarettes and frequent and harmful use of alcohol, but no associations with depression were found. Link to the article

Citation: Hollén, L., Dörner, R., Griffiths, M.D., & Emond, A. (2020). Gambling in young adults aged 17–24 years: A population-based study. Journal of Gambling Studies. doi:

Financial literacy and gambling behavior: Evidence from Japan [open access article]

According to a survey by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare in 2017, 3.6% of Japanese adults—equivalent to about 3.2 million people—have suffered from problem gambling at some point in their lifetime. This study examines the relationship between financial literacy, financial education, and gambling behavior (measured as gambling frequency) among the Japanese population. We hypothesize that financially literate and financially educated people who use their knowledge to make sound financial decisions are less likely to gamble. The data used in this study are from a nationwide survey in Japan from the Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University in 2010 (n=3687). To control for endogeneity bias between financial literacy and gambling behavior, we use the education of respondents’ fathers as an instrumental variable. The results from the probit-instrumental variable model show that financial literacy has a significantly negative relationship with gambling frequency, while financial education has no  significant relationship with gambling frequency. Our findings suggest that problem gambling may be mitigated by promoting financial literacy, but no such conclusion can be drawn for financial education. Link to the article

Citation: Watanapongvanich, S., Binnagan, P., Putthinun, P., Khan, M.S.R., & Kadoya, Y. (2020). Financial literacy and gambling behavior: Evidence from Japan. Hiroshima: Hiroshima University, Department of Economics.

Neurophysiological correlates of the near-miss effect in gambling [subscription access article]

The near-miss effect in gambling refers to a losing situation that is (or perceived to be) close to a win by the gambler. This effect is one of the many cognitive distortions that can occur during gambling games. The main objective of the present study was to analyze the electrophysiological correlates of the near-miss effect via an event-related potential (ERP) study examining four distinct gambling outcomes: win, full miss, near-miss before the payline, and near-miss after the payline. This study comprised 23 healthy voluntary participants (10 women) with ages ranging between 19 and 34 years (M = 22.5; SD = 3.65). All participants completed the South Oaks Gambling Screen and played a computerized slot machine, programed to induce the near-miss effect and specifically designed for an ERP study. By splitting the near-miss effect in two subtypes (before and after the payline), increased feedback-related negativity (FRN) was found for the near-misses after the payline in comparison to losses and also to near-misses before the payline. Results also indicated an increased P300 amplitude for the near-misses before the payline compared both with losses and with near-misses after the payline. The results suggest that both FRN and P300 present different sensitivities to near-miss subtypes, suggesting a payline effect that is not demonstrated when the data of near-misses before and after the payline are analyzed together. This is the first study to analyze the effect of the near-miss subtype in an ERP study and confirms the findings of previous behavioral studies. Article access details

Citation: Dores, A.R., Rocha, A., & Paiva, T. et al. (2020). Neurophysiological correlates of the near-miss effect in gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies.

The efficacy of a gambling prevention program among high-school students

Youth problem gambling has become an emergent public health issue, and adolescents constitute a vulnerable age group for the development of gambling-related problems. Although there is research concerning the risk factors of youth problem gambling, rigorous evaluations of the effectiveness of preventive initiatives is still rare. The present study evaluated the efficacy of an integrative intervention to prevent youth problem gambling based on a multidimensional set of factors including gambling-related knowledge, misconceptions, attitudes, gambling frequency, amount of money spent, total hours spent gambling per week, and sensation seeking. A pre- and post-test design was performed with 111 Portuguese high-school students randomly assigned to two groups (experimental and control). The findings demonstrated that the intervention was effective in improving correct knowledge about gambling, reducing misconceptions and attitudes, and in decreasing the total hours spent gambling per week. The intervention was also effective in reducing the number of at-risk/problem gamblers during the study period. Furthermore, these findings were stable after a 6-week follow-up. Overall, the intervention program appeared to be effective in correcting some gambling-related behaviours, and provides suggestions for future interventions. Link to the article

Citation: Calado, F., Alexandre, J., Rosenfeld, L. et al. (2019). The efficacy of a gambling prevention program among high-school students. Journal of Gambling Studies.

Exposure to gambling and alcohol marketing in soccer matchday programmes [article]

Background: The UK’s Premier League and Championship are two of the most well attended soccer leagues worldwide; however, little is known regarding exposure to gambling marketing through the matchday experience. The current study sought to quantify exposure to gambling and alcohol marketing, and responsible gambling messages within matchday programmes.
Methods: Programmes for each team in the English Premier League and Championship were analysed across consecutive matchday weekends, made available to 1,269,404 match-going fans. Direct adverts for, and incidental exposure to, gambling, alcohol, and responsible gambling marketing or messages were coded. Direct adverts were counted, as were absolute counts and percentage of pages with incidental exposure.
Results: Programmes averaged 2.3 direct gambling adverts and 37.8 instances of incidental gambling marketing exposure. Incidental gambling marketing was found on 22.2% of pages. There was more gambling marketing than either alcohol marketing or responsible gambling messages. This was observed across: number of direct adverts (p <.001), incidents of exposure (p <.001) and the percentage of pages with exposure (p <.001). Teams with gambling shirt sponsors had more incidental marketing exposure, in both absolute count (p <.001) and percentage of pages (p <.001) but did not have more direct gambling adverts (p = .63). Incidental exposure to gambling marketing was present in 59.0% of children’s specific sections of programmes.
Conclusions. There was greater exposure to gambling marketing in soccer matchday programmes. Gambling marketing was frequently evident in child specific sections of matchday programmes. Attending soccer matches and reading the matchday programme increases exposure to gambling. Link to the article 

Citation: Sharman, S., Ferreira, C.A., & Newall, P.W.S. (2019). Exposure to gambling and alcohol marketing in soccer matchday programmes. Journal of Gambling Studies. In Press.



Gambling with your health: Associations between gambling problem severity and health risk behaviours, health and wellbeing [article]

The current study examined the association between gambling problem severity and health risk behaviours, health and wellbeing. A cross-sectional survey (including representative population and supplementary convenience samples) was conducted with 2303 adult residents of a British Island. Gambling problem severity was assessed using the Problem Gambling Severity Index. The EQ-5D-5L, WEMWBS and AUDIT-C were used to measure general health, mental wellbeing and alcohol use, respectively. Other measures included diet, physical exercise and tobacco use. Differences between gambling severity levels for each measure were analysed using logistic regression adjusting for age, sex and income.
Compared to non-problem gamblers, moderate/high severity gamblers had higher odds of a poor diet, low physical exercise and poor general health. Tobacco use was associated with both low and moderate/high severity gambling. Low severity, but not moderate/high severity gambling, was signifcantly associated with binge and higher risk drinking behaviours. Health risk behaviours tended to cluster, with a graded relationship between gambling problem severity and odds of reporting at least two health risk behaviours. Compared to non-problem gamblers, low severity gamblers were approximately twice as likely and moderate/high severity gamblers were three times as likely, to have low mental wellbeing. Findings suggest associations between gambling problems and a range of health risk behaviours and health issues, and crucially that such issues are not limited to gamblers with the highest severity of problems. Addressing gambling across the whole continuum of risk should be a key public health priority.
Link to the article

Citation: Butler, N., Quigg, Z., Bates, R. et al. (2019). Gambling with your health: Associations between gambling problem severity and health risk behaviours, health and wellbeing. Journal of Gambling Studies.