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Background and aims

The broadcast of wagering advertisements during televised sports matches has been associated with various adverse outcomes. In order to counter these effects, legislative bodies require wagering operators to include responsible gambling messages in their advertisements; however, the effectiveness of these messages is unclear. This study sought to examine the extent to which responsible gambling messages are looked at, in the wider context of gambling advertisements.

Methods

Forty-nine regular sports bettors and 10 non-gamblers viewed a series of sports betting advertisements, while an eye-tracker recorded the number of fixations placed on responsible gambling messages, as well as other text-based wagering content.

Results

Responsible gambling messages were, generally, presented in a non-conspicuous manner. Eye-tracking data revealed that significantly fewer fixations were placed on responsible gambling messages, compared to wagering information (p < .001); however, this effect did not differ according to level of gambling risk (p = .169). The number of fixations placed on the different types of responsible gambling messages was found to vary, based on gambling risk (p = .006), as well as, what appears to be, the physical characteristics of these messages.

Discussion

Very few fixations were placed on, or near, responsible gambling messages, compared to other wagering information, meaning that, in their current form, they are unlikely to be effective in protecting against gambling harm. Preliminary evidence shows that presenting messages on a high-contrast/block-color background increases the number of fixations on these.

Conclusion

Further research is needed to identify ways of increasing the effectiveness of responsible gambling initiatives in the sports betting context.

Open access

Background and aims

Incentives for wagering products can provide extra value to gamblers. However, there is no financial reason why this added value should lead people to take greater gambling risks. This study aimed to experimentally test if wagering incentives cause gamblers to choose higher-risk (long odds) bets than un-incentivized bets.

Methods

An online experiment was conducted with wagering customers (N = 299, female = 12). Participants bet $4 on each of six video game simulations of a sport that they had wagered on in the past 12 months (Australian Football League, Cricket, or Soccer). Each game offered different common wagering incentives: Bonus bet, Better odds/winnings, Reduced risk, Cash rebate, Player’s choice of inducement, or No-inducement. For each game, participants could bet on long, medium, or short odds, and subsequently viewed a highlight reel of the simulated game outcome and bet outcome.

Results

Participants selected significantly longer odds (i.e., riskier) bets on games when an incentive was offered compared to the No-inducement condition. Better odds/winnings was the most attractive incentive, followed by Bonus bet, Cash rebate, Reduced risk, and No-incentive, respectively. No significant differences were observed based on demographics or problem gambling severity.

Discussion and conclusions

The choice of long odds with incentivized bets increases the volatility of player returns. Increased volatility results in more gamblers in a losing position and fewer gamblers with larger wins. Moreover, if long odds bets are priced to provide poorer value to bettors compared to short odds, they would increase gamblers’ losses and equivalently increase operators’ profits.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Matthew Rockloff
,
Matthew Browne
,
Alex M T Russell
,
Nerilee Hing
,
Tess Armstrong
, and
Nancy Greer

Abstract

Background and aims

Legacy gambling harms are negative consequences of gambling that extend past periods of low risk, moderate risk and problem gambling. Gambling harm is typically measured within a 12-month timeframe and is often restricted to examining harm amongst active gamblers. The present research aimed to explore whether people experienced gambling harms 12 months or more after the resolution of at-risk or problem gambling, and how long these legacy harms lasted.

Methods

An online survey was conducted in New Zealand with past and current gamblers and concerned significant others (CSOs) of gamblers, N = 1,240 (50.8% female), that asked them about both past and current gambling harms.

Results

A majority of both gamblers and CSOs of gamblers indicated that they still suffered from gambling harm even after most of their behavioural issues with gambling had been resolved, 12+ months ago. Legacy gambling harms reduced over time, with harms diminishing most quickly in the early years, and having an average half-life of 4 years. Harms involving community-relationships, church involvement, and domestic and other violence resolved more quickly than others.

Discussion and conclusions

Legacy harms are common among ex-problem gamblers and should be considered in any full accounting of the impacts of gambling.

Conclusion

Understanding the time course and persistence of legacy harms from gambling can provide gamblers, treatment professionals and public health experts with insights into how to address gambling's long-term consequences.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Esports betting is expanding in popularity, yet little is known about who participates in this niche gambling activity. This study aimed to determine whether esports bettors are more vulnerable to harms and problems than gamblers engaged in traditional sports betting.

Methods

Data were collected from 298 regular esports bettors and 300 sports bettors (who regularly bet on traditional sports, but not esports). These groups were compared on demographics, gambling involvement, problem gambling, and gambling-related harms.

Results

Compared to sports bettors, esports bettors were more likely to be younger, university-educated, employed (lower income earners), and speak a non-English language at home. Esports bettors gambled on fewer traditional gambling activities in the last 12 months, but compared to sports bettors, gambled more frequently on some activities, were more likely to meet problem gambler criteria (64.8.% vs 17.3%), and experience at least one gambling-related harm (81.9% vs 45.3%). Being an esports bettor significantly predicted greater problem gambling severity and gambling-related harms. More frequent esports skin betting and skin gambling (on games of chance) were significant predictors of gambling problems amongst esports bettors.

Discussion and conclusion

The results provide preliminary evidence that esports bettors are more likely to experience gambling problems compared to their sports betting counterparts, potentially stemming from their involvement in emerging video-game related gambling products.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Nerilee Hing
,
Alex M. T. Russell
,
Matthew Browne
,
Matthew Rockloff
,
Catherine Tulloch
,
Vijay Rawat
,
Nancy Greer
,
Nicki A. Dowling
,
Stephanie S. Merkouris
,
Daniel L. King
,
Matthew Stevens
,
Anne H. Salonen
,
Helen Breen
, and
Linda Woo

Abstract

Background and aims

Gambling-related harm to concerned significant others (CSOs) is an important public health issue since it reduces CSOs' health and wellbeing in numerous life domains. This study aimed to 1) estimate the first national prevalence of CSOs harmed by gambling in Australia; 2) identify the characteristics of CSOs most at risk of harm from another person's gambling; 3) compare the types and number of harms experienced by CSOs based on their relationship to the person who gambles; and 4) compare the number of harms experienced by CSOs by self-identified gender.

Methods

Based on a national CATI survey weighted to population norms, 11,560 respondents reported whether they had been personally and negatively affected by another person's gambling in the past 12 months; and if so, answered detailed questions about the harms experienced from the person's gambling who had harmed them the most.

Results

Past-year prevalence of gambling-related harm to adult Australian CSOs was (6.0%; 95% CI 5.6%–6.5%). CSOs most commonly reported emotional harms, followed by relationship, financial, health and vocational harms, respectively. Former partners reported the most harm, followed by current partners, other family members and non-family members, respectively. Female CSOs were more likely to report more harm and being harmed by a partner or other family member, and male CSOs from a non-family member.

Discussion and conclusions

The findings provide new insights into the wider societal burden of gambling and inform measures aimed at reducing harm to CSOs from gambling and supporting them to seek help.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Nerilee Hing
,
Alex M. T. Russell
,
Gabrielle M. Bryden
,
Philip Newall
,
Daniel L. King
,
Matthew Rockloff
,
Matthew Browne
, and
Nancy Greer

Abstract

Background and aims

Skin gambling uses in-game items (skins) acquired in video games, to gamble on esports, games of chance, other competitive events and privately with friends. This study examined characteristics of adolescent skin gamblers, their engagement in monetary gambling, and relationships between skin gambling and at risk/problem gambling.

Methods

Two samples of Australian adolescents aged 12–17 years were recruited to an online survey through advertisements (n = 843) and an online panel provider (n = 826).

Results

In both samples, past-month skin gamblers (n = 466 advertisements sample; n = 185 online panel sample) were more likely to have lower wellbeing, score as having an internet gaming disorder on the IGD, engage in more types of monetary gambling, and meet criteria for problem gambling on the DSM-IV-MR-J. Past-month skin gambling uniquely predicted problem gambling when controlling for past-month gambling on 11 monetary forms and the total number of monetary gambling forms.

Discussion and conclusions

Underage participation in skin gambling is a growing concern. The strong convergence between engagement in skin gambling and monetary gambling suggests common risk factors may increase the propensity of some adolescents to gamble on these multiple forms. Nonetheless, past-month skin gambling predicted problem gambling even when controlling for past-month monetary gambling, indicating its unique contribution to gambling problems and harm. While the study was based on non-probability samples, its results strengthen the case for regulatory reforms, age restrictions and public health education to prevent underage skin gambling and its potentially harmful consequences for children and young people.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Loot boxes are a common feature in video games where players win, buy or are gifted a virtual box or other container that is unwrapped to reveal virtual items of value, such as skins, weapons, in-game currency or special abilities. The current study aimed to relate the use of loot boxes to gambling problems and harm.

Methods

An online survey was conducted with 1,954 adolescents and young adults from NSW Australia, 59.9% female (aged 12–24), recruited by online panel aggregator, Qualtrics.

Results

Buying and selling loot boxes was associated with higher 12-month gambling frequency and gambling problems in young adults, aged 18–24 (Problem Gambling Severity Index). Young adults who bought loot boxes additionally had more gambling-related harms (Short Gambling Harms Screen). Young women, aged 18–24, who opened, bought and/or sold loot boxes spent more money in the last 12 months on gambling. In adolescents, aged 12–17, buying loot boxes was similarly associated with gambling problems (DSM-IV-MR-J). Furthermore, adolescent girls who bought and/or sold loot boxes viewed gambling more positively than other girls (Attitudes Towards Gambling Scale). There was no evidence, however, that longer-term experience in opening or purchasing loot boxes, a differentiating feature of the survey, is associated with current gambling problems.

Discussion and conclusions

This study suggests that loot boxes may be attractive to people who are already predisposed to engage in other gambling, and females who use loot boxes may have unique vulnerabilities to gambling problems that could be explored in future research.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Nerilee Hing
,
Matthew Rockloff
,
Alex M. T. Russell
,
Matthew Browne
,
Philip Newall
,
Nancy Greer
,
Daniel L. King
, and
Hannah Thorne

Abstract

Background and aims

Purchasing loot boxes in digital games is akin to gambling as it involves risking money for a chance-based reward of uncertain value. Research has linked buying loot boxes to problem gambling amongst adolescents, but has not examined co-occurring gambling participation. This study examined links between loot box purchasing and problem gambling amongst adolescents while controlling for monetary gambling participation.

Methods

Two survey samples of Australians aged 12–17 years were recruited through advertisements (n = 843) and online panels (n = 826). They included n = 421 and n = 128 adolescents, respectively, who met criteria for problem gambling.

Results

Past-month loot box purchasing was significantly related to gambling problems in bivariate analyses. When including age, gender and past-month monetary gambling, loot box purchases were still associated with at-risk and problem gambling in both samples. As expected, these other predictors attenuated the predictive value of recent loot box purchases in relation to gambling problems. The odds-ratios, nevertheless, were still in the predicted direction and remained significant. When controlling for monetary gambling, age and gender, recent loot box purchasing increased the odds of problem gambling 3.7 to 6.0 times, and at-risk gambling 2.8 to 4.3 times.

Discussion and conclusions

While causal relationships between loot box purchasing and problem gambling remain unclear, the results indicate that loot boxes disproportionately attract adolescents experiencing gambling problems, adding to the financial stress already caused by gambling. Consumer protection measures, youth and parental education, and age restrictions on loot box games are needed to protect young people.

Open access