What can be done to reduce the public stigma of gambling disorder? Lessons from other stigmatised conditions [subscription access article].

Abstract: Gambling is embedded in Australian cultural history, and perceived as a normal, legitimate leisure activity. Despite this normalisation, people who experience gambling problems are heavily stigmatised which can lead to a variety of harms that extend beyond the individual. The stigma from the general public appears to be based on a stereotype of a typical “problem gambler”—selfish, greedy, impulsive and irresponsible. However, research suggests that people experiencing gambling problems have widely varying characteristics and do not conform to this stereotype. Regardless of whether the stigma is justified, it is both present and problematic. Gamblers experiencing problems delay help-seeking due to feelings of shame and, not unwarranted, expectations of negative judgement because of the heavy stigma associated with the stereotype. As stigma is a primary barrier to treatment and a reason why gambling problems can take longer to acknowledge, it is important to understand and address how stigma can be reduced to minimise the negative consequences of gambling on individuals, their families and friends and the wider community. There is little research on reducing gambling-related stigma, so there is a need to examine strategies used in other stigmatised conditions, such as mental health, to understand the general principles of effective stigma reduction measures. Because gambling disorder is unique, well-hidden and consequently not well understood, there is a need to recognise that techniques used in other domains may differ in their effectiveness within the context of gambling stigma. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Brown, K.L., & Russell, A.M.T. What can be done to reduce the public stigma of gambling disorder? Lessons from other stigmatised conditions. Journal of Gambling Studies. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-019-09890-9.

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Gambling, losses and self-esteem: An interactionist approach to the Betting Shop by Cormac McNamara [book publication].

Synopsis: This book provides new insights into contemporary betting shops, with a particular focus on the manner in which losing bets are dealt with by customers. Drawing on research undertaken in Ireland, it demonstrates that customers tend to shift responsibility for monetary losses onto factors external to themselves as part of a collective process engaged in to restore self-esteem, and considers the role played by announcements made in betting shops in creating an atmosphere of inclusion – and the implications of this for ‘problem gambling’. Through an analysis of newspaper representations of the first legally operating betting shops in Ireland, which opened in the 1920s, the author places the contemporary betting shop in historical context and examines trends in gambling across the British Isles with reference to social class and the security or precarity of work. An interactionist study not only of gambling but also of responsibility and the connection between the micro-world and social structures, this volume will appeal to sociologists with interests in symbolic interactionism and strategies of blame.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction
2. Research Approach
3. Responsibility-Shifting – part I & part II
4. Betting and Belonging
5. The Early Days of the Irish Betting Shop – 1926-1930
6. Gambling and Work in the 21st Century
7. Concluding Remarks
Book details from publisher’s website

Book reference: McNamara, C. (2019). Gambling, losses and self-esteem: An interactionist approach to the Betting Shop. London: Routledge.

Problem gambling and support preferences among Finnish prisoners: a pilot study in an adult correctional population [open-access article].

Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the prevalence of potential problem gambling among Finnish prisoners; the associations between problem gambling and demographics, substance use and crime-related factors; and problem gamblers’ support preferences.

Design/methodology/approach – Prisoners (n ¼ 96) from two Finnish prisons were recruited between December 2017 and January 2018. The estimated response rate was 31 percent. Gambling problems were measured using the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen. The participants were asked to report their gambling both for one year prior to their incarceration and for the past year. The independent variables were demographics (age, gender and marital status), substance use (alcohol, smoking and narcotics) and crime-related factors (crime type, prison type and previous sentence). Statistical significance (p) was determined using Fischer’s exact test.

Findings – Past-year pre-conviction problem gambling prevalence was 16.3 percent and past-year prevalence 15 percent. Age, gender, smoking, alcohol or illicit drug use were not associated with past-year problem gambling before sentencing. One-third of the prisoners (33.3 percent) who were sentenced for a property crime, financial crime or robbery were problem gamblers. One-quarter (24 percent) of all participants showed an interest in receiving support by identifying one or more support preferences. The most preferred type of support was group support in its all forms.

Research limitations/implications – It is recommended that correctional institutions undertake systematic screening for potential problem gambling, and implement tailored intervention programs for inmates with gambling problems.

Originality/value – This study provides a deeper understanding of problem gambling in prisons. Problem gambling is associated with crime and also seems to be linked with serving a previous sentence. Early detection and tailored interventions for problem gambling may help to reduce reoffending rates. Article available online

Citation: Lind, K., Salonen, A.H., Järvinen-Tassopoulos, J., Alho, H., & Castrén, S. (2019). Problem gambling and support preferences among Finnish prisoners: a pilot study in an adult correctional population. International Journal of Prisoner Health. doi: 10.1108/IJPH-07-2018-0041.

Debiasing strategies for problem gambling: Using decision science to inform clinical interventions [subscription access article].

Abstract
Purpose of Review: This review seeks to increase awareness of the broad range of interventions for problem gambling that focus on mitigating biased beliefs and behaviors. A secondary goal of this review is to stimulate thinking surrounding the use of so-called debiasing strategies within the areas of responsible gambling, prevention, and treatment of gambling problems. This is accomplished by classifying gambling interventions according to a taxonomy of debiasing strategies which is used more broadly within the field of decision science.
Recent Findings: Many interventions use cognitive and process-driven (known as technological) debiasing strategies. Furthermore, advances in technology to include digital games and online programs have the power to increase both the efficacy and appeal of such approaches. Unfortunately, far fewer interventions have taken advantage of affective and motivational debiasing strategies.
Summary: There are potential insights to be had and new directions to be explored by incorporating debiasing strategies and decision science into investigations of problem gambling interventions. Possibilities include identifying and examining understudied areas, combining debiasing strategies with existing treatments for problem gambling, developing multimodal debiasing interventions, and focusing explicitly on process-driven approaches. Article details and access conditions

Citation: Broussard, J.D. & Wulfert, E. (2019). Debiasing strategies for problem gambling: Using decision science to inform clinical interventions. Current Addiction Reports. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-019-00263-1

Integrating psilocybin and existential-humanistic psychotherapy for pathological gambling treatment: a new perspective [open-access article].

Abstract: In the last years, the debate on the use of psychedelics in psychotherapeutic settings has intensified, attracting a lot of interest and attention from the scholarly community as well as from clinicians and paving the way for new therapeutic paradigms. Besides classical addictions and addictive behaviors, there exist forms of addictions, the so-called new addictions or behavioral addictions, whose characterization is not linked so much to substances but to widespread and socially accepted activities such as games, shopping, internet use, sex, love relationships, work and exercises, physical activities or sports.
Among the various addictions, the gambling disorder is the first form of behavioral addictions officially recognized by the DSM-V, in accordance with a wealth of neurobiological and clinical data showing the activation in patients of the gratification systems (especially dopamine).
Orthos, as intensive residential intervention program envisaging a non-moralistic approach to gambling, can be combined with the administration of psilocybin, a substance characterized by a very low potential for abuse, modulating brain areas and networks affected by addictive behaviors. Therefore, our proposal would be to start treating behavioral addictions combining psilocybin administration with existential-humanistic psychotherapy, like Orthos. Article available online

Reference: Raymondo, S., & Firenzuoli, F. (2019). Integrating psilocybin and existential-humanistic psychotherapy for pathological gambling treatment: a new perspective. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 15(1), 228–236.

An empirical study of the effect of voluntary limit-setting on gamblers’ loyalty using behavioural tracking data [open-access article].

Abstract: Online gambling has become increasingly popular over the past decade as has research using behavioural tracking (player account) data. To date, there is no study that has empirically investigated the effects of responsible gambling tools on loyalty. In the present study, the effect of voluntary limit-setting on player loyalty was evaluated over time using tracking data provided by an online gambling operator. More specifically, the authors were given access to an anonymised dataset of 175,818 players who had placed at least one bet or gambled at least once during January 2016 to May 2017 at the online gambling operator Kindred. The average age of the players was 31 years, and overall 18,484 of the players were female (10.5%). The dataset comprised a 20% random sample of the total player population of Kindred. In each of ten playing intensity groups, the percentage of active players in the first quarter of 2017 was higher in the group of players who had set voluntary money limits in the first quarter of 2016 compared to players that did not (suggesting players that set voluntary spending limits are more loyal compared to those who do not). The implications of these findings are discussed. Article available online

Reference: Auer, M., Hopfgartner, N., & Griffiths, M.D. (2019). An empirical study of the effect of voluntary limit-setting on gamblers’ loyalty using behavioural tracking data. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-019-00084-3

The gambling factors related with the level of adolescent problem gambler [open-access article].

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the gambling factors related with the gambling problem level of adolescents to provide basic information for the prevention of adolescent gambling problems. The data was drawn from the 2015 Survey on Youth Gambling Problems of the Korea Center on Gambling Problems for Korean students in grades 7–11 (ages 13–17 years) and included 14,011 study subjects (average age 14.9 years, 52.5% male). The lifetime gambling behavior experience was 42.1%, and 24.2% had a gambling behavior experience within the past three months. The past three-month prevalence of problem gambling was 1.1%. The gambling factors related with the level of adolescent problem gambling include the presence of nearby gambling facilities, having personal relationships with people that gamble, a higher number of experienced gambling behaviors, male adolescents, and a greater amount of time spent gambling. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first report to identify gambling factors related with the level of adolescent problem gambling in Korean adolescents using national data. These findings suggest that gambling prevention efforts must consider not only access to individual adolescents as early intervention, but also environmental strategies such as accessibility regulations and alternative activities. Article available online

Reference: Kang, K., Ok, J.S., Kim, H., Lee, & K.-S. (2019). The gambling factors related with the level of adolescent problem gambler. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 2110.