The Relationship Between Exclusions from Gambling Arcades and Accessibility: Evidence from a Newly Introduced Exclusion Program in Hesse, Germany [subscription access article]

Strohäker, T. & Becker, T. (2018). Journal of Gambling Studies:

Abstract: An exclusion system for gambling arcades has been introduced recently in the state of Hesse. The aim of this paper is to identify significant predictors that are useful in explaining the variation of exclusions between different Hessian communities. Next to socio-demographic factors, we control for three different accessibility variables in two models: the number of electronic gambling machines (EGMs) in model I, and the number of locations and density of gambling machines at a location in model II. We disentangle the association between EGMs and exclusions of model I into a location and a clustering effect. Considering the socio-demographic variables, the explanatory power of our cross-sectional models is rather low. Only the age group of the 30–39 years old and those who are not in a partnership (in model I) yield significant results. As self-exclusion systems reduce availability for the group of vulnerable players, this analysis provides evidence for the assumption that the two groups—pathological gamblers and vulnerable players—seem to have little overlap concerning sociodemographic characteristics. The accessibility variables, on the other hand, turn out to be significantly associated with the number of exclusions. All three of them are statistically significant and their association is positive. The results of model II show that the location effect is more pronounced then the clustering effect of EGMs, i.e. the effect of an additional single-licensed arcade on the number of exclusions is stronger than the increase in the number of license at one location. Article details and access options


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

Excessive Gambling and Online Gambling Communities [subscription article]

Sirola, A., Kaakinen, M. & Oksanen, A. (2018). Excessive gambling and online gambling communities. Journal of Gambling Studies.

Abstract: The Internet provides an accessible context for online gambling and gambling-related online communities, such as discussion forums for gamblers. These communities may be particularly attractive to young gamblers who are active Internet users. The aim of this study was to examine the use of gambling-related online communities and their relevance to excessive gambling among 15–25-year-old Finnish Internet users (N = 1200). Excessive gambling was assessed by using the South Oaks Gambling Screen. Respondents were asked in a survey about their use of various kinds of gambling-related online communities, and sociodemographic and behavioral factors were adjusted. The results of the study revealed that over half (54.33%) of respondents who had visited gambling-related online communities were either at-risk gamblers or probable pathological gamblers. Discussion in these communities was mainly based on sharing gambling tips and experiences, and very few respondents said that they related to gambling problems and recovery. In three different regression models, visiting gambling-related online communities was a significant predictor for excessive gambling (with 95% confidence level) even after adjusting confounding factors. The association of visiting such sites was even stronger among probable pathological gamblers than among at-risk gamblers. Health professionals working with young people should be aware of the role of online communities in terms of development and persistence of excessive gambling. Monitoring the use of online gambling communities as well as utilizing recovery-oriented support both offline and online would be important in preventing further problems. Gambling platforms should also include warnings about excessive gambling and provide links to helpful sources. Access and article sources

Psychological Vulnerability and Problem Gambling: The Mediational Role of Cognitive Distortions

By Lévesque, D., Sévigny, S., Giroux, I., & Jacques, C.

Abstract: Despite numerous studies demonstrating the influence of cognitive distortions on gambling problem severity, empirical data regarding the role of psychological vulnerability on the latter is limited. Hence, this study assesses the mediating effect of cognitive distortions between psychological vulnerability (personality and mood), and gambling problem severity. It also verifies whether the relationships between these variables differs according to the preferred gambling activity. The sample is composed of 272 male gamblers [191 poker players; 81 video lottery terminal (VLT) players] aged between 18 and 82 years (M = 35.2). Bootstrap analysis results revealed that cognitive distortions mediate the effect of narcissism on gambling problem severity for both groups. The level of depression for VLT players significantly predicted gambling problem severity, both directly and indirectly via the mediating effect of cognitive distortions. Mediation analyses also indicated that narcissism had an indirect impact on problem gambling through cognitive distortions for both groups. These findings suggest that certain vulnerabilities related to personality and mood may influence cognitive distortion intensity and gambling problem severity. In addition, psychological vulnerabilities could differ based on preferred gambling activity. These results may be useful for prevention policies, identifying high risk gamblers and planning psychological interventions.

Lévesque, D., Sévigny, S., Giroux, I., & Jacques, C. (2018). Psychological Vulnerability and Problem Gambling: The Mediational Role of Cognitive Distortions. Journal of Gambling Studies.


When Does Premature Treatment Termination Occur? Examining Session-by-Session Dropout Among Clients with Gambling Disorder

By Pfund, R. A., Peter, S. C., Whelan, J. P., & Meyers, A. W.

Abstract: Premature termination challenges the successful outcomes of psychological treatments for gambling disorder. To date, research has primarily identified clients who are at particular risk for dropping out of treatment. A smaller but growing body of literature has investigated when dropout occurs. Typically, those studies have not considered improvement in psychological distress within their operationalizations of dropout and therefore may have misrepresented when dropout occurs. The current study examined when dropout occurs using an operationalization based on the criteria of attaining reliable change in a naturalistic sample of clients with gambling disorder, and the classification rates yielded from that operationalization were compared to the rates from a more common operationalization. Participants (n = 334) were clients meeting diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder at an outpatient private practice who completed a measure of psychological distress at baseline and prior to each subsequent treatment session. A survival analysis was conducted to determine temporal patterns of treatment dropout (i.e., clients who discontinued treatment before realizing reliable changes in psychological distress) and completion (i.e., clients who discontinued treatment after realizing reliable changes in distress) at each treatment session. Forty-nine percent of clients were classified as dropouts, and the majority of those clients did so in the first few sessions. The more common operationalization of dropout classified clients as dropouts when they had improved in their distress and clients as completers when they had not improved in their distress. Discussion centers on the implications of dropout occurring at various stages of treatment and future directions.

Pfund, R. A., Peter, S. C., Whelan, J. P., & Meyers, A. W. (2017). When Does Premature Treatment Termination Occur? Examining Session-by-Session Dropout Among Clients with Gambling Disorder. Journal of Gambling Studies.


Casino Self- and Forced Excluders’ Gambling Behavior Before and After Exclusion

By Kotter, R., Kräplin, A., & Bühringer, G.

Casino exclusion programs are intended to prevent or limit gambling-related harm. Although previous research showed that self-exclusion is associated with reduced gambling, it remains unknown whether self- and forced excluded subjects show different patterns of gambling behavior and if exclusion from casino gambling affects all gambling activities. The present study retrospectively investigated (1) the role of voluntariness of exclusion for the first time, and (2) general gambling behavior of excluded individuals before and after exclusion. A total of N = 215 casino excluders (self-excluders: n = 187, forced excluders: n = 28) completed an online survey or a face-to-face interview up to 8 years after enrollment. Self- and forced excluders showed similar rates of abstinence (self-excluders: 19.3%, forced excluders: 28.6%) and reduction (self-excluders: 67.4%, forced excluders: 60.7%), even though forced excluders reported a significantly greater initial gambling intensity compared to self-excluders (e.g., pre-exclusion gambling time; self-excluders: 3.2 days/week, forced excluders: 4.3 days/week). Overall, results indicated that 20.5% of excluders stopped all gambling activities and another 66.5% reduced their gambling. Those who continued gambling significantly reduced this behavior in every segment, except for gambling halls. Findings indicate that self- and forced exclusion are associated with similarly reduced gambling behavior, even in non-excluded segments. However, unchanged gambling in gambling halls emphasizes the importance to implement consistent exclusion programs over all gambling segments.


Kotter, R., Kräplin, A., & Bühringer, G. (2017). Casino Self- and Forced Excluders’ Gambling Behavior Before and After Exclusion. Journal of Gambling Studies.

Testing an Incentive-Sensitisation Approach to Understanding Problem Slot-Machine Gambling Using an Online Slot-Machine Simulation

By Davey, B., & Cummins, R.

Abstract: This study aims to test the application of the incentive-sensitisation theory to slot-machine gambling behaviour. The theory posits that for problem gamblers (PGs), gambling strengthens the response of motivational pathways in the mid-brain to gambling cues, eliciting strong wanting, independent of liking. Non-problem gamblers (NPGs) experience weaker changes to motivational pathways so liking and wanting remain associated. Hence, it is predicted that wanting to gamble will be greater than liking for PGs but there will be no difference for NPGs; wanting will be greater for PGs than for NPGs; and, wanting but not liking will predict whether PGs continue gambling, whereas both will predict this for NPGs. During gambling on an online simulated slot-machine, 39 PGs and 87 NPGs rated “liking” and “wanting”. Participants played at least 3 blocks of 10–20 spins, and then had the option of playing up to 4 additional blocks; to continue playing they had to complete an effortful task, so that “number of blocks played” acted as an additional indirect measure of wanting. Results supported hypotheses except on the indirect measure of wanting (the number of blocks played).

Davey, B., & Cummins, R. (2017). Testing an Incentive-Sensitisation Approach to Understanding Problem Slot-Machine Gambling Using an Online Slot-Machine Simulation. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–12.