Once online poker, always online poker? Poker modality trajectories over two years [open access article]

Abstract: Online poker is considered more at-risk than land-based poker in terms of intense gambling behaviors and gambling problems. The development of many online gambling sites has raised public health concerns about the potential increase in online poker players. Longitudinal studies are useful to better understand the evolution of gambling behaviors; however, very few consider online poker players. Using a prospective design, this study aims to identify online and land-based trajectories over a two-year period and the factors influencing those trajectories …

Over two years, three poker playing trajectories were identified, comprising two stable trajectories [stable land-based (51.5%) and stable online (36.3%)] and an unstable trajectory [unstable online land-based (12.1%)]. The second trajectory included online poker players at baseline who transitioned to land-based poker. Number of gambling activities increased the odds of being in the first trajectory as compared to the others. Severity of gambling problems was a significant predictor of the second “unstable” or the third “stable online” trajectories, but not for the first “stable land-based” poker trajectory.

The majority of poker players remained in either the land-based or online trajectories over two years. No poker players transitioned from land-based to online poker. Link to the article

Citation: Magali Dufour, et al., Addictive Behaviors Reports, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2020.100251

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9740-0


Identifying risk and mitigating gambling-related harm in online poker

The present paper conducts a critical analysis of the potential for gambling-related harm in relation to online poker participation, and a theoretical evaluation of current responsible gambling strategies employed to mitigate harm in online gambling and applies the evaluation of these strategies specifically to online poker gambling. Theoretically, the primary risk for harm in online poker is the rapid and continuous nature of poker provisions online, and has been demonstrated to be associated with disordered gambling behaviour, including the chasing of monetary losses. The following responsible gambling features were deemed relevant for consideration: informed player choice, voluntary self-exclusion, employee intervention, pre-commitment, in-game feedback, behavioural tracking tools, and age restriction and verification. Although current responsible gambling features are evaluated as theoretically robust, there remains a fundamental need for experimental validation of their effectiveness. Furthermore, despite online poker gamblers perceiving the responsible gambling features as valuable tools, in reality very few players regularly use available responsible gambling features. Ultimately, for the online poker gambling industry to retain market credibility and avoid substantial top-down regulation, it is imperative to demonstrate effectiveness of responsible gambling approaches, and increase customer utilisation of available harm-mitigation features.

Gender, gambling settings and gambling behaviours among undergraduate poker players

A gender divide in gambling is commonly observed among college populations. This study examines whether settings where students gamble on poker mediate the relationship between gender and poker gambling behaviours. Undergraduate poker players, 126 females and 242 males, were randomly sampled from three universities in Montreal, Canada. Three outcomes measuring risky behaviours were considered: severity of gambling problems as measured by the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), past-year poker spending and past-year poker debt. Multiple mediation analyses were conducted. The effect of gender on outcomes was analysed through three putative mediators: gambling on poker in private residences, in public locations or on the Internet…

Source: Kairouz, S., Paradis, C., & Monson, E. (2016). Gender, gambling settings and gambling behaviours among undergraduate poker players. International Gambling Studies, 0(0), 1–13. http://doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2016.1147590

“Toward a Sociological Analysis of Pathological Gambling” : Journal of Sociology and Social Work

Full text available at link.

The academic study of gambling began in the United States in the 1950s with an emphasis on the psychoanalytical approach – gambling was considered a mental illness, a compulsion. In the 960s and 1970s, sociologists began to look at gambling as a social problem, but this approach did not gain much traction in changing the psychoanalytical view of gambling’s acceptance by the mental health community as well as by the general public. In the ensuing decades, the study of gambling behavior has shifted to a genetic approach, with genes being held responsible for what is now referred to as pathological gambling (PG). This change is reflected in the most recent iteration of the American Psychiatric Association’s bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS-5), which places PG within the category of “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.” In this article, an alternative viewing of gambling is offered, one that sees gambling as more of a cultural phenomenon, a result of capitalism’s emphasis on competition, and blaming the victim for not succeeding, than as an addiction.

Source: Scimecca, J. A. (2015). Toward a Sociological Analysis of Pathological Gambling. Journal of Sociology and Social Work, 3(1). http://doi.org/10.15640/jssw.v3n1a1