Driving artificial intelligence use in responsible gambling practices [thesis paper]

Abstract: Gambling operators have incorporated specific responsible gambling (RG) measures as a unique approach to enhance their corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, staff accuracy in problem gambling identification, one important RG measure, remains low: venue staff can identify only 36% of patrons experiencing gambling problems. Artificial intelligence (AI)’s integration with responsible gambling (RG) practices has gained increasing attention in the gaming industry. The technological mechanisms set by AI can exploit the correlation and interaction between variables in a multivariate way, an utmost difficult task for humans, to identify risky patterns and determine which player attributes correlate with positive behavioral changes. The result helps to develop better RG strategies and safe play guidelines for players. However, AI technologies encountered a low degree of acceptance and adoption in the industry because of technical, ethical, regulatory issues regarding AI applications for gambling and the way of data collection from gamblers. The extensive literature review on both AI and RG aims to recommend best practices for the use of AI in a way in which the gaming industry can comply with responsible gambling guidelines, while also ensuring they adhere to local law and best practice in data privacy. The recommendations cover four aspects of AI implementation: data privacy, security and governance; ethical consideration in deployment and design; data quality; and, transparency,  interpretability, and accountability of AI systems. As there are almost no regulations designed for AI, this paper proposed the first set of solutions that can help gambling regulators, operators, and players better understand AI systems, thus using them more
effectively and responsibly. Link to the paper

Citation: Huang, Q. (2020). Driving artificial intelligence use in responsible gambling practices (paper submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Science in Hospitality Management, University of Nevada).

An examination of clinician responses to problem gambling in community mental health services [open access article]

Abstract: Gambling problems commonly co-occur with other mental health problems. However, screening for problem gambling (PG) rarely takes place within mental health treatment settings. The aim of the current study was to examine the way in which mental health clinicians respond to PG issues. Participants (n = 281) were recruited from a range of mental health services in Victoria, Australia. The majority of clinicians reported that at least some of their caseload was affected by gambling problems. Clinicians displayed moderate levels of knowledge about the reciprocal impact of gambling problems and mental health but had limited knowledge of screening tools to detect PG. Whilst 77% reported that they screened for PG, only 16% did so “often” or “always” and few expressed confidence in their ability to treat PG. However, only 12.5% reported receiving previous training in PG, and those that had, reported higher levels of knowledge about gambling in the context of mental illness, more positive attitudes about responding to gambling issues, and more confidence in detecting/screening for PG. In conclusion, the findings highlight the need to upskill mental health clinicians so they can better identify and manage PG and point towards opportunities for enhanced integrated working with gambling services. Link to the article

Citation: Manning, V., Dowling, N.A., Rodda, S.N., Cheetham, A., & Lubman, D.I. (2020). An examination of clinician responses to problem gambling in community mental health services. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9 (2075). doi:10.3390/jcm9072075

Gambling in prisons – A nationwide Polish study of sentenced men [open access article]

Despite the abandonment of the criterion of committing illegal acts in the diagnosis of pathological gambling in fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), research confirms the significant link between crime, gambling, and gambling addiction.

In Poland, this connection is observed by psychologists working in the prison service, who simultaneously report the need for more structured interactions that would solve gambling problems among prisoners. The lack of any data on the involvement of persons committing crimes in gambling in Poland formed the basis for the implementation of a survey of gambling behaviour and gambling problems among male offenders in Polish correctional institutions.

A total of 1,219 sentenced men took part in the study. The research tool included 75 questions, including queries from the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Based on SOGS, the prevalence rate of severe problem gambling was 29.4% over the lifetimes of the prisoners. As many as 13.1% of respondents admitted to having gambled in prison. This activity usually involved cards, bets or dice. More than 74% of incarcerated men who gambled in prison met the criteria for pathological gambling. Prisoners who gambled more in prison than at liberty made up 27.7%.

As many as 69.3% of respondents declared that while in prison, they had met fellow convicts experiencing problems because of gambling. The study shows that criminals continue gambling after detention, especially those who are problem gamblers, an overall finding which implies the need to implement preventive and therapeutic interventions in correctional institutions. Link to the article

Citation: Lelonek-Kuleta, B. (2020). Gambling in prisons – A nationwide Polish study of sentenced men. Journal of Gambling Issues, 44. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

On the limits and challenges of public health approaches in addressing gambling-related problems [subscription access article]

Many governments around the world have adopted a public health (PH) approach as a framework to minimise, reduce or prevent gambling-related harm. In principle, this appears very sensible given the success of PH approaches in other areas of society: in disease control, nutrition, physical exercise and reductions in smoking. In this paper, we examine the challenges that are faced in applying PH principles to gambling. We argue that gambling is a difficult activity to address because of the highly skewed distribution of severity that makes PH interventions seem less relevant for the majority and difficult to apply to the complex minority. In our view, gambling harm can really only be reduced by changing the behaviour of individuals, and this objective is very much informed by the principles and practices of ‘individual-focused disciplines’ including psychology, social work and the medical sciences. Greater evidence and evaluation are needed to demonstrate how the ‘whole of population’ approaches advocated by PH are superior than ecological, individual-focused or responsible gambling approaches to reduce gambling-related harm. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Delfabbro, P., King, D.L. On the Limits and Challenges of Public Health Approaches in Addressing Gambling-Related Problems. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 18, 844–859 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-020-00276-2

Problem gambling and suicidality in England: secondary analysis of a representative cross-sectional survey [open access article]

  • A fifth of problem gamblers in England were suicidal in the past year.
  • Rates remained elevated after adjustment for other mental disorders.
  • The vulnerability of gamblers in the wider community has rarely been recognised.
  • This heightened vulnerability should be recognised in suicide prevention plans.

Objectives: Problem gamblers in treatment are known to be at high risk for suicidality, but few studies have examined if this is evident in community samples. Evidence is mixed on the extent to which an association between problem gambling and suicidality may be explained by psychiatric comorbidity. We tested whether they are associated after adjustment for co-occurring mental disorders and other factors.
Study design: Secondary analysis of the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007, a cross-sectional national probability sample survey of 7403 adults living in households in England.

Methods: Rates of suicidality in problem gamblers and the rest of the population were compared. A series of logistic regression models assessed the impact of adjustment on the relationship between problem gambling and suicidality.

Results: Past year suicidality was reported in 19.2% of problem gamblers, compared with 4.4% in the rest of the population. Their unadjusted odds ratios (OR) of suicidality were 5.3 times higher. Odds attenuated but remained significant when depression and anxiety disorders, substance dependences, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other factors were accounted for (adjusted OR = 2.9, 95% confidence interval = 1. 1, 8.1 P = 0.023).

Conclusions: Problem gamblers are a high-risk group for suicidality. This should be recognised in individual suicide prevention plans and local and national suicide prevention strategies. While some of this relationship is explained by other factors, a significant and substantial association between problem gambling and suicidality remains. Link to the article

Citation: Wardle H et al., Problem gambling and suicidality in England: secondary analysis of a representative cross-sectionalsurvey, Public Health, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2020.03.024

An analysis of consumer protection for gamblers across different online gambling operators in Ireland: A descriptive study [open access via ResearchGate]

Abstract: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the responsible gambling tools which are available to online gamblers at Irish online gambling websites. The present study used a similar methodology to a recent study carried out on the world’s most popular websites (Bonello and Griffiths Gaming Law Review and Economics, 21, 278–285, 2017), where 50 of the most advertised online gambling websites were evaluated in relation to their responsible gambling (RG) practices.

The present study evaluated 39 gambling websites with either a “.ie” or “.com/ie” domain. Each website was evaluated by checking for a number of RG practices, including presence of a dedicated RG page; age verification; access to gambling account history; the availability of RG tools, such as limit setting facilities and exclusion settings; and links to limit-setting options on the deposit page. Descriptive statistics were then performed on the results from each website. Of the 39 online gambling operators identified, 22 redirected gamblers to a “.com” domain, while 17 operators remained as a “.ie” domain. Thirty-five websites (89.7%) visited had a dedicated RG page.

Responsible gambling features were evaluated and demonstrated to be available in an inconsistent manner across online gambling websites. Irish websites were shown to perform poorly in comparison with non-Irish counterparts in the provision of RG tools. The researchers of the present study are not aware of any similar studies conducted to date in Ireland. Link to the article

Citation: Cooney, Caoimhe & Columb, David & Costa, Joao & Griffiths, Mark & O’Gara, Colin. (2018). An Analysis of Consumer Protection for Gamblers Across Different Online Gambling Operators in Ireland: A Descriptive Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. 10.1007/s11469-018-9968-7.

Frequency of engagement with legal UK youth gambling products is associated with adult disordered gambling [open access article]

The potential effects of exposing children aged under 18 to gambling is an area of concern for researchers and policy-makers around the world. The UK is rare in that it allows for a number of gambling products to be legally used by people under the age of 18. The present research is a retrospective cross-sectional study of 1,052 adult UK gamblers, aged 18 – 40. Five legal youth gambling products were considered: Category D fruit machines, the National Lottery, National Lottery scratchcards, coin push machines, and crane grab machines. Recalled rates of legal youth engagement were high, ranging from 53.7% for Category D fruit machines to 93.4% for coin push machines. Across each product, merely having used a legal youth gambling product in the past was not associated with adult disordered gambling, except for scratchcards. However, higher levels of recollected legal youth engagement with each of the five products was robustly associated with adult disordered gambling. These results are relevant to recent government proposals to increase the legal age on National Lottery scratchcards to 18, and are consistent with previous results on early exposure to gambling and subsequent gambling-related harm. Link to the article

Citation: Newall, P.W.S., Russell, A.M.T., Sharman, S., Walasek, L. (2020). Frequency of engagement with legal UK youth gambling products is associated with adult disordered gambling. Melbourne: Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, CQUniversity

Secondary data analysis report an examination of the effects of problem gambling on retirement transitions [article]

Population aging represents a major demographic shift and older adults gamble at higher rates than ever before. However, little is known about the impact of gambling on retirement transitions. Therefore, we examined the consequences of recreational levels and problem levels of gambling for retirement timing and the stability of retirement. To better understand how the positive and negative consequences of gambling have an impact on retirement timing and the potential return to work for those in retirement, data were analyzed from the Quinte Longitudinal Study of Gambling and Problem Gambling (QLS; Williams et al., 2014). Logistic regression was used to predict retirement outcomes. Among people who were employed and aged 50 and over at baseline, problem gambling and gambling to socialize encouraged people to retire two years later; however, gambling to socialize at baseline was not associated with retirement four years later. For people who were retired and aged 55 and over at baseline, problem gambling did not pull them out of retirement two years or four years later. This study addressed the call for prospective research on the consequences of gambling (Desai, Desai, & Potenza, 2007). Findings are of value to problem gambling treatment and service providers, adults planning for or in retirement, and retirement planning professionals. Link to the article

Citation: Dawczyk, A., & Mock, S.E. (2019). Secondary data analysis report an examination of the effects of problem gambling on retirement transitions. Ontario: Gambling Research Exchange Ontario.

Gambling activity among teenagers and their parents [Growing up in Australia longitudinal study]

Key Findings:

  • Despite being illegal, one in six 16-17 year olds reported having gambled in the past year.
  • More boys than girls reported having gambled on private betting, sports betting and poker.
  • Although 65% of parents reported having gambled at least once in the past year, the majority (around 90%) were non-problem gamblers.
  • Boys who had either been the victim or perpetrator of bullying at school were more likely to report having gambled.
  • At age 16-17, around one in four boys (24%) and one in seven girls (15%) reported having played gambling-like games in the past 12 months.
  • Teenagers who engaged in risky behaviours such as smoking and drinking, or had friends who smoked or drank alcohol, were more likely to report having gambled. Link to the article

Citation: Warren, D., & Yu, M. (2019). Gambling activity among teenagers and their parents. LSAC Annual Statistical Report 2018. Retrieved from: https://growingupinaustralia.gov.au/research-findings/gambling-activity-among-teenagers-and-their-parents