Are anti-gaming messages making women bet more?

Home News Are anti-gaming messages making women bet more?

PokiesA STUDY by a Queensland university has found that women respond poorly to messages about their gambling habits.

A Central Queensland University experiment with the use of pop up messages on poker machines has found that women who were challenged about their problem gambling actually bet more in response.

The study, which involved 200 volunteers in Adelaide, was hoped to find that the pop up messages helped to limit the problem gambling behaviour.

But, instead, it showed women intensified their gambling behaviour in response to the messages, with the university’s report calling the messages “counter intuitive”.

The school set up a simulated gaming machine, giving the players $20 in credit to bet with.

It sent a selection of nine different pop up messages during play, with the players given the option to cash out or play until all their credit was gone.

Researcher Tess Armstrong, from the university’s School of Human, Health and Social Sciences, said the trial programmed wins and losses.

“They could gamble however long they wanted until they chose to stop or ran out of credits,” Armstrong said.

She said the messages sent to players included calls to action that were self monitoring, informative and self evaluative.

Some of the messages included: “Gambling at lower speeds leads to greater enjoyment. Did you know your play speed has increased? You’re playing at similar speeds to most problem gamblers.”

“These messages were determined by a matrix that distinguished between informative, self-monitoring and self-evaluative messages that were either positive, challenging or negative,” Ms Armstrong said.

The report did not provide conclusive evidence about the effects of pop up messages on gamers, finding that older people made smaller bets when confronted by the messages, while men tended to slow down when they saw them.

It concluded that more research needed to be done into pop up messages.

The university has a history of probing gambling and its effects, with the results of another study, published in April, finding that the harm caused by gambling to the community rivalled that of alcohol abuse and depression.

The study, entitled Assessing gambling related harm in Victoria, found that people did not need to be problem gamblers for punting to impact negatively on their lives.

“You don’t have to be a problem gambler to be harmed by gambling,” lead researcher Dr Matthew Browne said.

“We found people at the moderate and even low-risk end of the spectrum are experiencing harm, and because there are more of them, the total impact is greater than the impact from gamblers with severe problems.

“The impact of low-risk and moderate-risk gambling equates to 85 per cent of gambling harm on the community as a whole.”

Funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the university’s study featured surveys of some 5000 gamblers, as well as people who had been impacted by another person’s gambling and used interviews with gamblers and professionals in gambling treatment and community support services.

It also looked at online discussions in gambling help forums, finding that punters’ habits did not just impact on them financially.

“Many gamblers, even those in the low and moderate-risk categories, have relationship conflict as well as feelings of regret and anger about their gambling,” Dr Browne said.

“Many also said that gambling led to more drinking, which compounds and exacerbates the harm.”

Dr Browne said the report’s findings were significant but must be treated with care.

“While the report shows one in six gamblers – more than 500,000 Victorians – are experiencing some level of gambling harm, not all harm is equal,” he said.

“People who are at the severe end of the scale are experiencing debilitating levels of harm, while, someone at the lower end is coping with harm similar to having a musculoskeletal condition.

“This study reminds us that just as you don’t need to be an alcoholic to experience alcohol-related harm, you don’t have to be a problem gambler to be harmed by gambling.”

Our take

None if this is completely new. It doesn’t take a genius to know that chasing the dream can lead to serious consequences. But it’s a matter of scale. And this research reinforces the message we always try to send: gamble within your means and don’t get sucked in. We are all for the punt and it can be a very enjoyable experience. But, when the losses mount, it can be debilitating. Be smart, set limits and don’t chase your losses. Make sure the bills are paid and there is food on the table.

Punters probed in Euro betting

In world gambling, Euro 2016 football betting has brought about the arrest of some 1200 people in Bangkok, thanks to a police crackdown.

The Bangkok Post reports the massive soccer tournament has attracted massive illegal betting interest, with some 143 punters and nine bookmakers arrested on one day alone.

“Between June 10 and 17, a total of 1,192 people were arrested for football betting,” the paper reports.

“They included six football gambling operators, 1,142 gamblers, 15 bookmakers, 16 online punters and 13 online gambling operators.

“Police on June 7 set up a special centre for the prevention and suppression of betting on the Euro tournament, which runs until July 10.

“It is second only to the World Cup when it comes to gambling interest.

“Police said their biggest concern was the possibility that the event would attract first-time teenage gamblers.”

Police in Bangkok have set up a taskforce to tackle the problem and it appears to be paying dividends.

Those found organising football betting involving 100 gamblers or more with 10 million baht or more in circulation would be charged with money laundering.

Smaller bookmakers and their clients would be charged under the Gambling Act.

Internet betting is also being targeted, with police working to shut down websites offering online gambling.

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