Motivation-Matched Approach to the Treatment of Problem Gambling: A Case Series Pilot Study (open access)

Stewart, M. J., Davis MacNevin, P. L., Hodgins, D. C., Barrett, S. P., Swansburg, J., & Stewart, S. H.
The aim of the present case series was to provide a preliminary assessment of the utility of a motivation-matched treatment for problem gamblers. On the basis of their primary underlying motivations for gambling, 6 problem gamblers received either action-motivated (n = 4) or escape-motivated (n = 2) treatment. Drawing upon a cognitive-behavioural framework, this 6-session motivation-matched treatment was designed to address gamblers’ maladaptive motivations for gambling (i.e., the need or desire for “escape” or “action”), as well as the effects of conditioning and maladaptive thinking patterns unique to each gambling motive subtype. Assessments were conducted at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 3- and 6-month follow-up. Primary outcome measures included gambling behaviour (i.e., gambling frequency, time, and money spent gambling), severity of gambling problems, and gambling-related impairment or disability; secondary outcome measures included gambling-related craving, gambling abstinence self-efficacy, positively and negatively reinforcing gambling situations, and gambling outcome expectancies. Overall, participants showed pre- to post-treatment improvements on the majority of these measures, with relatively less immediate post-treatment treatment gains observed on measures that assessed positively and negatively reinforcing gambling situations and gambling-related impairment or disability. However, treatment gains at the 3- and 6-month follow-up were shown for most participants on these latter measures as well. Findings suggest promise for this novel treatment approach. The next step in this line of research is to conduct a randomized, controlled trial to compare the efficacy of this motivation-matched treatment for disordered gambling with treatment as usual.

Gambling motivations and superstitious beliefs: a cross-cultural study with casino customers

The expansion of legalized commercial gaming in Macau has motivated stakeholders to explore opportunities in other Asian countries. However, there is a lack of research focusing on casino customers in these markets. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore gambling superstitious beliefs and motivations of those visiting a casino in South Korea, and how these factors are different across four ethnic groups. The researchers surveyed 323 casino customers in the lounge area on the casino floor, including Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans living abroad. This study found American gamblers could be characterized as more superstitious than Japanese gamblers, while the Chinese and American gamblers exhibited many similarities regarding the pattern of superstitious beliefs that they were most likely to endorse. The findings also suggest the culture and the area around the casino might be more important to Chinese, while novelty to Japanese and winning money to Korean gamblers are seen as most important. This study contributes to gambling literature by examining gamblers’ beliefs and motives in a different setting with more diverse populations than those in previous studies. The findings of this study will help casino operators properly develop and adjust strategies to thrive in the Asian marketplace.