Abstract: Smartphone users engage extensively with their devices, on an intermittent basis for short periods of time. These patterns of behaviour have the potential to make mobile gambling especially perseverative. This paper reports the first empirical study of mobile gambling in which a simulated gambling app was used to measure gambling behaviour in phases of acquisition and extinction. We found that participants showed considerable perseverance in the face of continued losses that were linearly related to their prior engagement with the app. Latencies between gambles were associated with the magnitude of reinforcement; more positive outcomes were associated with longer breaks between play and a greater propensity to end a gambling session. Greater latencies were associated with measurements of problem gambling, and perseverance with gambling-related cognitions and sensation-seeking behaviour.
Article available online
Reference: James R.J.E., O’Malley, C., & Tunney R.J. (2019). Gambling on smartphones: A study of a potentially addictive behaviour in a naturalistic setting. European Addiction Research, 25,30-40. doi: 10.1159/000495663
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.
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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
Available online – Slide presentation by Jean-Michel Costes (French Monitoring Centre on Gambling , France) given at the 6th International Conference on Pathological Gambling and Behavioral Addictions Warsaw, 19-20 November 2018.
Online gambling in France in 2017
Conclusions and perspectives
Reference: Costes, J. (2018, November). Evolution of online gambling practices in France over the past 5 years: lessons for the regulation and prevention of problem gambling. Paper presented at the 6th International Conference on Pathological Gambling and Behavioral Addictions, Warsaw, Poland.
Abstract: Online gambling, unlike offline forms of gambling and other mediums of problematic and addictive behaviours such as alcohol and tobacco, offers unprecedented opportunities for monitoring and understanding users’ behaviour in real-time, along with the ability to adapt persuasive messages and interactions that would fit the gamblers usage and personal context. This opens a whole new avenue for research on the monitoring and interactive utilization of gambling behavioural data. To this end, in this paper we explore the range of data and modalities of interaction which can facilitate richer interactive persuasive interventions and offer additional support to goal setting, with ultimate aim of aiding gamblers to stay in control of their gambling experience [continues]. Access full report
Citation: Drosatos, G., Arden-Close, E., Bolat, E., Vuillier, L. and Ali, R., 2018. Gambling Behaviour Data and Modalities of Persuasive Interaction for Enabling Responsible Online Gambling. Technical Report. Poole, England: Bournemouth University.
Abstract: The Swedish gambling market faces a major change in legislation that will allow foreign-based companies to apply for a gambling licence in Sweden. A key element in the new legislation are consumer protection measures. The Swedish gambling market is currently divided between licensed companies and non-Swedish-based companies providing online gambling services without a licence in Sweden. How these companies view their responsibility for preventing gambling-related harm and how prepared they are for the new regulations are important questions regarding the new Swedish gambling market. Access full report
Citation: David Forsström & Jenny Cisneros Örnberg. (2018). Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 1–17. DOI: 10.1177/1455072518802492
[From the executive summary] In May 2018, the Government announced the introduction of a £2 limit on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). ResPublica campaigned for this in the 2017 Paper, ‘Wheel of Misfortune’, which demonstrates the impact these machines have upon gamblers at risk of developing a problem, and indicates the more general problem for society at large. Following on from this, ResPublica published the report ‘Watershed’, which has argued for government to close the legislative loopholes that exist in gambling advertising. This report builds on the recommendations in the previous ResPublica reports, developing a growing package of reforms to make the gambling industry more sustainable and responsible. Access e-publication online
About the Campaign for Fairer Gambling
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to ensure delivery and enforcement of the licensing objectives of the 2005 Gambling Act, including preventing gambling from being a source of disorder or crime, ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
The ResPublica Trust (ResPublica) is an independent non-partisan think tank. Through our research, policy innovation and programmes, we seek to establish a new economic, social and cultural settlement. In order to heal the long-term rifts in our country, we aim to combat the concentration of wealth and power by distributing ownership and agency to all, and by re-instilling culture and virtue across our economy and society.