How to support prison workers’ perceived readiness to identify and respond to possible gambling problems: A pilot study from two Finnish prisons [open-access article]

Abstract
Problem gambling is known to be prevalent among prisoners. However, it is not systematically screened and often remains undetected. This pilot study explores prison workers’ (N = 21) knowledge, views, and opinions about problem gambling in two Finnish prisons with a view to improving training and to developing better guidelines for identifying and responding to gambling problems. Four-fifths (81%) of prison workers considered problem gambling a serious issue in Finland. During the past year, more than nine in ten (94.1%) had encountered a prisoner with a gambling problem. Problem gambling was identified in connection with discussions about prisoners’ illegal activity (50%), financial situation (25%), or other problems (25%). Nearly half of the participants felt they did not have adequate training or information about problem gambling and related issues and expressed an interest in continuing education. This pilot study provides important direction for the development of tailored training programs for prison workers. The next step is to increase awareness of gambling programs in a wider national context and to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of training programs. Article available online

Reference: Castrén, S., Lind, K., Järvinen-Tassopoulos, J. et al. (2019). How to support prison workers’ perceived readiness to identify and respond to possible gambling problems: A pilot study from two Finnish prisons. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-019-00083-4

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Gambling – No ordinary commodity [open-access article]

Gambling is no ordinary commodity. As a phenomenon it is fabricated and learned socially and culturally. In order to spend money on a game, humans must not only learn the logic of the game (“four cherries in a row are worth more than three hats”) but they must also be internalised in a (il)logical bundle of justifications in terms of the value of doing so (“it is fun”; “I will become rich”, or “If I play enough times, the likelihood of winning increases”). In this issue of Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs the latter circumstance of a cultural internalisation is demonstrated by Egerer and Marionneau’s (2019) article on cultures and the convenience of gambling among Finnish and French gamblers. Their study shows that the activity has a different cultural position in the two countries: the internalising into gambling belongs in Finland to the sphere of everyday life, but in France it is connected with the peculiarities of the casino environment (see also Marionneau, 2015). This makes gambling such an intriguing case for cultural studies.
In many countries, lottery games and other gambling activities were first provided and handled by civil society associations in order to collect incomes for their work. This is indeed a practical way of generating money: readers are likely, for example, to be familiar with school events where there is a lottery, and the revenues go to a school trip or some other venture that supports the children’s school atmosphere or educational path.
When a need arose by jurisdictions to regulate gambling more thoroughly, it was primarily for fiscal reasons (Sulkunen et al., 2018). In addition, there were a string of issues attached to this question of regulation: who was to gain revenues from gambling and how much; who was allowed to play; and where should the gambling activities take place? The bigger the gambling industry grew, the more questions followed – and appeared to have been overlooked historically.
Now that the global gambling market is worth almost 500 billion USD gross yield (Statista, 2018), there is a great societal demand for making gambling policy a more integrated object of sociological, social political, and political science research. This thematic issue of NAD tries to answer this need by filling a small part of the gap in the Nordic literature.
Article available online

Reference: Hellman, M. (2019). Gambling – No ordinary commodity. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 36(2), 63-65. https://doi.org/10.1177/1455072519826739

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.
Access online article

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

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.

Special volume: Keeping chance in its place: The socio-legal regulation of gambling [open-access journal issue: Journal of Law and Social Policy]

Articles

Keeping Chance in Its Place: The Socio-Legal Regulation of Gambling / Kate Bedford, Donal Casey, and Alexandra Flynn PDF

Regulation and Resistance in Canadian Bingo Halls: A Socio-Legal Account / Kate Bedford PDF

Risk, Charity, and Boundary Disputes: The Liberalisation and Commercialisation of Online Bingo in the European Union / Donal Casey PDF

Law, Judges and Authorized Gambling in Italy: A Tale of Contradictions / Nadia Coggiola PDF

A Tale of Two Casinos: Unequal Spaces of Local Governance / Alexandra Flynn PDF

Online Gambling, Regulation, and Risks: A Comparison of Gambling Policies in Finland and the Netherlands / Alan Littler and Johanna Järvinen-Tassopoulos PDF

Beyond the Figure of the Problem Gambler: Locating Race and Sovereignty Struggles in Everyday Cultural Spaces of Gambling / Fiona Nicoll PDF

All About That Place: The Curious Case of Bingo Liberalisation in Brazil / Toni Williams PDF

Voices and Perspectives

First Nations Gaming in Canada: Gauging Past and Ongoing Development / Yale Belanger PDF

Fifty Years of Legal Gambling in Canada: So What? / Colin S. Campbell PDF

Playing Bingo with Mum – and Dad! / Ruth Cherrington PDF

Ongoing Debates about Gambling Regulation In Brazil: Between Current News and Prospective Laws, An Uncertain Future Ahead / Maria Luiza Kurban Jobim PDF

“I’ve always been outspoken on what I think can be improved”: An Interview with Dr. Garry J. Smith / Fiona Nicoll and Mark R. Johnson PDF

Citation: Bedford, K., Casey, C., & Flynn, A. (Eds). (2018). Keeping Chance in Its Place: The Socio-Legal Regulation of Gambling [Special Volume]. Journal of Law and Social Policy, 30.

Raising the legal gambling age in Finland: problem gambling prevalence rates in different age groups among past-year gamblers pre- and post-implementation

Nordmyr, J., & Österman, K.
This article reports on the frequency of problem gambling, measured with the Lie/Bet instrument, in different age groups among Finnish past-year gamblers in 2011 (n = 2984) and 2014 (n = 2326). The data highlights the situation before, and three years after, the implementation of a raised minimum age limit for gambling from 15 to 18 years. The difference in problem gambling frequency when comparing all age groups was statistically significant in 2011, but not in 2014. A significantly lower frequency of problem gambling was found among 18–19-year-olds in 2014 (3.4%), compared to 2011 (16.3%). The results regarding problem gambling prevalence among 15–17-year-olds (8.0% in 2011, 0.0% in 2014) are somewhat inconclusive as the number of respondents fulfilling the criteria for problem gambling was zero in 2014, thus affecting the analysis. No statistically significant difference in problem gambling frequency was found among 20–21-year-olds (a group less affected by the policy implementation) – or other older age groups – between the survey years. While the findings should be viewed with caution, they do support recommendations regarding a minimum gambling age of 18 years or higher as an effective harm-minimization measure.
Nordmyr, J., & Österman, K. (2016). Raising the legal gambling age in Finland: problem gambling prevalence rates in different age groups among past-year gamblers pre- and post-implementation. International Gambling Studies, 0(0), 1–10. http://doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2016.1207698

Changes in minors’ gambling on slot machines in Finland after the raising of the minimum legal gambling age from 15 to 18 years: A repeated cross-sectional study

AIM – The legal gambling age in Finland was raised from 15 to 18 years in 2010, but slot machines were given a transition period that ended with the full law coming into effect on 1 July 2011. The widespread accessibility of slot machines and their popularity among youth led us to consider how age limit was enforced in the Finnish gambling monopoly system and to analyse how underage gambling on slot machines changed after the raising of the minimum age.

METHODS – Two nationwide cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 2011 and 2013 (12–18-year-olds; N=8101; average response rate 42%). The main measure was self-reported six-month prevalence of slot machine use overall and by venue (shops; kiosks; petrol stations; restaurants/cafés; ship travels to Sweden/Estonia; other). Changes from 2011 to 2013 were tested by using the χ2 tests and multivariate logistic regression analyses. As a reference group only, 18-year-olds were analysed, as they were of legal age to gamble.

Source: Raisamo, S., Warpenius, K., & Rimpelä, A. (2015). Changes in minors’ gambling on slot machines in Finland after the raising of the minimum legal gambling age from 15 to 18 years: A repeated cross-sectional study. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 32(6), 579–590.