Abstract: There have been significant changes in the gambling landscape particularly relating to gambling in the digital age. As the gambling landscape changes, regulation of gambling also needs to change. In 2018, the Office of Responsible Gambling in New South Wales, Australia, commissioned a gap analysis to inform their research objectives and priority focus areas. This included an identification of gaps in our understanding of emerging technologies and new trends in gambling. A gap analysis of the peer-reviewed literature published since 2015 was undertaken, identifying 116 articles. The main area of focus was Internet gambling, followed by articles exploring the relationship between video gaming and gambling, the expansion of the sports betting market, Electronic Gambling Machines characteristics and articles exploring new technologies and trends in advertising and inducements. Key gaps related to the need for more research in general, as well as research focusing on subpopulations such as those using different gambling formats, those with varying levels of problem gambling, and vulnerable populations. From a methods perspective, researchers saw the need for longitudinal studies, more qualitative research and improved outcome measures. The development and testing of a public health approach to addressing the harms associated with gambling in these areas is needed. Link to the article
Citation: Lawn, S., Oster, C., Riley, B., Smith, D., Baigent, M., & Rahamathulla, M. (2020). A literature review and gap analysis of emerging technologies and new trends in gambling. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(744).
Given significant technological advances, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018 permitting U.S. states to offer and regulate sports wagering, and multiple international governments already regulating and licensing sports wagering operators, sports wagering will likely continue to grow exponentially. This expanding landscape of sports wagering may pose public health problems. This literature review provides a description of our current knowledge of sports gambling behaviour among adults, adolescents, and athletes, including prevalence rates and factors associated with problem gambling sports bettors. We highlight new issues that are surfacing, particularly the interaction between online betting, sports viewing, live betting, mobile technology, and sports fantasy gambling. We also address future research directions, including the need for longitudinal studies to clarify factors that contribute to the onset and maintenance of sports-related problem gambling, to examine the impact of major league sports leagues and professional teams that partner with gambling operators and casinos on gambling behaviour, and the need to assess public policy and treatment approaches. Link to the article
Citation: Winters, K.C. & Derevensky, J.L. (2019). A review of sports wagering: Prevalence, characteristics of sports bettors, and association with problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Issues, 43.
Background: Gambling disorder is related to high overall gambling engagement; however specific activities and modalities are thought to have stronger relationships with gambling problems. This study aimed to isolate the relationship between specific gambling activities and modalities (Internet and venue/land-based) to gambling disorder and general psychological distress. Past-month Internet gamblers were the focus of this investigation because this modality may be associated with gambling disorders in a unique way that needs to be separated from overall gambling intensity.
Methods: Australians who had gambled online in the prior 30 days (N = 998, 57% male) were recruited through a market research company to complete an online survey measuring self-reported gambling participation, problem gambling severity, and psychological distress.
Results: When controlling for overall gambling frequency, problem gambling was significantly positively associated with the frequency of online and venue-based gambling using electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and venue-based sports betting. Psychological distress was uniquely associated with higher frequency of venue gambling using EGMs, sports betting, and casino card/table games.
Conclusions: This study advances our understanding of how specific gambling activities are associated with disordered gambling and psychological distress in users of Internet gambling services. Our results suggest that among Internet gamblers, online and land-based EGMs are strongly associated with gambling disorder severity. High overall gambling engagement is an important predictor of gambling-related harms, nonetheless, venue-based EGMs, sports betting and casinos warrant specific attention to address gambling-related harms and psychological distress among gamblers.
Link to the article
Citation: Gainsbury, S.M., Angus, D.J. & Blaszczynski, A. (2019). Isolating the impact of specific gambling activities and modes on problem gambling and psychological distress in internet gamblers. BMC Public Health, 19(1372). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7738-5
The use of social media is now an established strategy to engage and maintain customer loyalty. The purpose of the present study was to examine the Twitter accounts of ten of the largest online sports betting operators in the UK to determine what marketing strategies were employed. More specifically, this study analyzed 3375 tweets posted by the operators during the opening weekend of the 2018–2019 English Premier League football season using a content analysis methodology. The results demonstrated that multiple strategies, including hashtags, were used to link gambling operator tweets with major sporting events, and the use of numerous promotional campaigns. Notably, over 90% of the tweets contained no responsible gambling information. The quantity and content of social media posts underline the need for a review of the current advertising regulations in the UK. Further research should examine how exposure to sports betting social media marketing influences gambling behavior. Article available online
Citation: Killick, E.A., & Griffiths, M.D. (2019). A content analysis of gambling operators’ twitter accounts at the start of the English Premier League football season. Journal of Gambling Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-019-09879-4
Though largely banned throughout the early 1900s, gambling experienced a rebirth in the second half of the twentieth century. Shortly after the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, however, federal legislators were worried that gambling would extend beyond traditional casino gambling and into the realm of sports, a possibility legislators unanimously opposed. Sports gambling had long been opposed by many legislators fearing it would corrupt amateur and professional sports organizations.
Validating legislators’ opposition and fear, several sports gambling scandals in the 1900s utilized bribery and extortion to compromise athletes. For example, in 1919, eight Chicago White Sox players arranged with the nation’s leading gamblers to manipulate the outcome of the World Series of Major League Baseball (“MLB”) to guarantee and collect a lucrative payout—infamously becoming known as “The Black Sox.” Thus, in 1992, with the support of those opposing sports gambling, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), a statute that prohibited wagering on amateur and professional sports. Article available online
Reference: Haines, H.M. (2019). Passing the ball: The United States Supreme Court strikes down PASPA and throws sports gambling back to the state legislatures. Maryland Law Review, 78(3), 604-635.
Abstract: In-play gambling is a recent innovation allowing gambling to occur during the course of a sporting event, rather than merely before play commences. For years, in-play gambling has been marketed in the UK via adverts displaying current betting odds during breaks in televised soccer, e.g., “England to score in the first 20 minutes, 4-to-1.” Previous research shows that this so-called “live-odds” advertising is skewed toward complex events with high profit margins which consumers do not evaluate rationally. Recent UK regulatory guidance on “impulsiveness and urgency,” aiming to enhance consumer protection around gambling advertising, states that gambling advertising should not “unduly pressure the audience to gamble.” We explored the frequency and content of live-odds advertising over the 2018 soccer World Cup, as a case study of the first major televised sporting event after the publication of this UK regulatory guidance. In total, 69 live-odds adverts were shown over 32 matches (M = 2.16 per-match), by five bookmakers. We identified two key features that made advertised bets appear more urgent than necessary. First, 39.1% of bets could be determined before the match ended. Second, 24.6% of bets showed a recent improvement in odds, including a 15.9% subset of “flash odds,” which were limited in both time and quantity. Advertised odds were again skewed toward complex events, with a qualitative trend toward greater complexity than at the previous World Cup. We believe that consumers should be protected against the targeted content of gambling advertising. Article available online
Reference: Newall, P.W.S., Thobhani, A., Walasek, L., & Meyer, C. (2019). Live-odds gambling advertising and consumer protection. PLoS ONE, 14(6): e0216876. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216876
Rob Wootton busts common myths about various gambling forms.
[From the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, a webinar for both clients and gambling services staff dispelling myths and explaining the true odds and current operating principles of various modes of gambling.]
Webinar available via YouTube
Reference: Wootton, R. (2019). How gambling really works: Sports betting, pokies, casino games, wagering . Melbourne: Victorian Responsible Gambling Association. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVPaOQAIQoU