Edition #1: Youth and gambling

Hands playing mobile phone
Hands playing mobile phone
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New evidence

From links between gambling and gaming to effects of sports betting ads: get up to date with gambling research

While the field of gambling research is relatively new, it is strengthening and expanding rapidly. Here, Inside gambling summarises some recent key studies.

Video gaming and gambling – linked or not?

Are regular video gamers likely to gamble more often than the general community? This study identified that rates of gambling were generally low among video gamers. Those who did gamble preferred pokies and playing for money rather than for gaming credits or points. Studies like this are important, particularly around exploring pathways to gambling for young people, and identifying reasons why particular groups are more likely to gamble.

The gambling preferences and behaviours of a community sample of Australian regular video game players
Forrest, CJ, King, DL & Delfabbro, PH
This research was undertaken by a team from the University of Adelaide.

Sports betting as social identity

Fitting in with your mates is important for teenagers and has a significant effect on how they behave. For many young men today, betting is part of sport, and mates discuss wins and losses as much as they talk about the game itself. This study explores how a shared interest in sports and betting could encourage young adults, who may otherwise not have had an interest in gambling, to bet to avoid exclusion from their group.

Brand community and sports betting in Australia (PDF - 842 KB)
Gordon, R, Gurrieri, L & Chapman, M
This study was funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation via the Early Career Researcher Grant as part of the Grants for Gambling Research Program (Round 5).

Problem gambling is rarely a problem on its own

People with gambling problems who seek treatment often have other issues such as an anxiety disorder or substance use. This study revealed almost three in four people in this group experience co-morbidities, or co-occurring conditions: namely, major depression or bipolar disorder. The majority of participants were smokers and 18 per cent suffered from alcohol abuse. This type of research is important to understanding the issues faced by people with gambling problems and will contribute to the design of problem gambling treatment services. The findings will also be used to promote the need for integrated referral processes, or cross-sector collaboration, between health and human services.    

Prevalence of psychiatric co-morbidity in treatment-seeking problem gamblers
Dowling, NA, Cowlishaw, S, Jackson, AC, Merkouris, SS, Francis, KL & Christensen, DR
This review was completed by a team led by Nicki Dowling of Deakin University.

How do live and telecast gambling promotions during sporting events affect betting?

Are people more likely to want to bet on an event after being exposed to sports betting marketing? This research explored how sports bettors in Queensland responded to gambling promotions embedded in a telecast or live sporting event. The study found that regular gamblers studied and planned 61 per cent of bets in advance, while people with gambling problems were more likely to bet impulsively after watching a gambling ad. This research supports the argument that cutting the number of betting ads in games is likely to reduce gambling among this group.

Sports bettors' responses to sports-embedded gambling promotions: implications for compulsive consumption
Hing, N, Lamont, M, Vitartas, P & Fink, E
The study was funded by a Responsible Gambling Research Grant from the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

Can they see it? Staff and signs of gambling problems in venues

When is a problem, a problem? This study looked at how effective venue workers are at identifying the signs of problem gambling among patrons.  It found most were able to recognise the signs of problem gambling but their responses were inconsistent. This type of research is important in understanding how effective responsible service training and the various venue codes of conduct are in providing responsible gambling environments. The study identifies gaps and opportunities for improving responsible service training.

Responsible gambling: sympathy, empathy or telepathy?
O'Mahony, B & Ohtsuka, K
This study was funded by a research grant from the Victorian Department of Justice.

Dynamic warning messages on electronic gaming machines (pokies) – do they work?

With all the lights, bells and whistles on poker machines and at gaming venues, are players likely to notice a responsible gambling message on their screen? If so, is it likely to influence their behaviour? This study investigated the effectiveness of dynamic warning messages displayed on pokies, and looked at the thoughts and responses of participants. The messages aimed to lessen compulsive and excessive gambling, yet were found to have little impact on disrupting play. Further research into this area may yield different responses with variations to the length of messages, timing and style of onscreen communication

Optimal content for warning messages to enhance consumer decision-making and reduce problem gambling
Gainsbury, SM, Aro, D, Ball, D, Tobar, C & Russell, A
This study was conducted by the Centre for Gambling Education and Research at Southern Cross University.

Find out more

For more information about these studies, read the June research update from our Gambling Information Resource Office (GIRO).

GIRO research update June 2015 (PDF - 464.8 KB)

You can also find out more about the foundation's research program in this edition of Inside gambling.

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