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  • Author or Editor: Sally M. Gainsbury x
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Background and aims

Public stigma diminishes the health of stigmatized populations, so it is critical to understand how and why stigma occurs to inform stigma reduction measures. This study aimed to examine stigmatizing attitudes held toward people experiencing problem gambling, to examine whether specific elements co-occur to create this public stigma, and to model explanatory variables of this public stigma.

Methods

An online panel of adults from Victoria, Australia (N = 2,000) was surveyed. Measures were based on a vignette for problem gambling and included demographics, gambling behavior, perceived dimensions of problem gambling, stereotyping, social distancing, emotional reactions, and perceived devaluation and discrimination. A hierarchical linear regression was conducted.

Results

People with gambling problems attracted substantial negative stereotypes, social distancing, emotional reactions, and status loss/discrimination. These elements were associated with desired social distance, as was perceived that problem gambling is caused by bad character, and is perilous, non-recoverable, and disruptive. Level of contact with problem gambling, gambling involvement, and some demographic variables was significantly associated with social distance, but they explained little additional variance.

Discussion and conclusions

This study contributes to the understanding of how and why people experiencing gambling problems are stigmatized. Results suggest the need to increase public contact with such people, avoid perpetuation of stereotypes in media and public health communications, and reduce devaluing and discriminating attitudes and behaviors.

Open access

Background and aims

Social casino games (SCGs) feature gambling themes and are typically free to download and play with optional in-game purchases. Although few players spend money, this is sufficient to make them profitable for game developers. Little is known about the profile and motivations of paying players as compared to non-paying players.

Methods

This study compared the characteristics of 521 paying and non-paying Australian social casino game players who completed an online survey.

Results

Paying players were more likely to be younger, male, speak a non-English language, and have a university education than non-payers. Paying players were more likely to be more highly involved in SCG in terms of play frequency and engagement with games and emphasized social interaction more strongly as a motivation for playing. A cluster analysis revealed distinct subgroups of paying players; these included more frequent moderate spenders who made purchases to avoid waiting for credits and to give gifts to friends as well as less frequent high spenders who made purchases to increase the entertainment value of the game.

Discussion

These findings suggest that paying players have some fundamental differences from non-paying players and high spenders are trying to maximize their enjoyment, while non-spenders are content with the game content they access.

Conclusions

Given the structural similarities between SCG and online gambling, understanding subgroups of players may have broader implications, including identifying characteristics of gamers who may also engage in gambling and players who may develop problems related to excessive online gaming.

Open access
Authors: Daniel L. King, Sally M. Gainsbury, Paul H. Delfabbro, Nerilee Hing and Brett Abarbanel

Background and Aims

Gambling and gaming activities have become increasingly recognised as sharing many common features at a structural and aesthetic level. Both have also been implicated as contributing to harm through excessive involvement. Despite this, relatively little attention has been given to the fundamental characteristics that differentiate these two classes of activity, especially in situations where the boundaries between them may be particularly hard to distinguish. This is evident, for example, in digital games that incorporate free and paid virtual currencies or items, as well as the capacity for wagering. Such overlaps create problems for regulatory classifications, screening, diagnosis and treatment. Is the problem related to the gambling or gaming content?

Methods

In this paper, we review the principal sources of overlap between the activity classes in terms of several dimensions: interactivity, monetisation, betting and wagering, types of outcomes, structural fidelity, context and centrality of content, and advertising.

Results

We argue that gaming is principally defined by its interactivity, skill-based play, and contextual indicators of progression and success. In contrast, gambling is defined by betting and wagering mechanics, predominantly chance-determined outcomes, and monetisation features that involve risk and payout to the player. A checklist measure is provided, with practical examples, to examine activities according to features of design and function, which may inform guidelines for policy makers, researchers and treatment providers.

Discussion and conclusions

We suggest that, in some instances, using category-based nomenclature (e.g., “gambling-like game”) may be too vague or cumbersome to adequately organise our understanding of new gaming/gambling hybrid activities.

Open access
Authors: Thomas B. Swanton, Alex Blaszczynski, Cynthia Forlini, Vladan Starcevic and Sally M. Gainsbury

Background and aims

Despite the many benefits of technological advancements, problematic use of emerging technologies may lead to consumers experiencing harms. Substantial problems and behavioral addictions, such as gambling and gaming disorders, are recognized to be related to Internet-based technologies, including the myriad of new devices and platforms available. This review paper seeks to explore problematic risk-taking behaviors involving emerging technologies (e.g., online gambling and gaming, online sexual behaviors, and oversharing of personal information via social networking sites) that have the potential to lead to problematic outcomes for individuals.

Results and discussion

Previous research has focused on policy frameworks for responding to specific issues (e.g., online gambling), but a broader framework is needed to address issues as they emerge, given lags in governments and regulators responding to dynamically evolving technological environments. In this paper, key terms and issues involved are identified and discussed. We propose an initial framework for the relative roles and responsibilities of key stakeholder groups involved in addressing these issues (e.g., industry operators, governments and regulators, community groups, researchers, treatment providers, and individual consumers/end users).

Conclusion

Multidisciplinary collaboration can facilitate a comprehensive, unified response from all stakeholders that balances individual civil liberties with societal responsibilities and institutional duty of care.

Open access