2010 – Gambling and the impact of new and emerging technologies and associated products

Gambling and the impact of new and emerging technologies and associated products

Autores: J.G. Phillips (Monash University) Prof. Alex Blaszczynski (University of Sydney)

Overview

♦ This project was commissioned by the Victorian Department of Justice (Tender No 119/06) in association with Gambling Research Australia. It was a collaborative effort between Dr. James G. Phillips (Monash University) and Prof. Alex Blaszczynski (University of Sydney).

♦ The aims of the project were to: (1) review literature for evidence relevant to the uptake of technology for games and commercial applications, and the regulation thereof; (2) Use survey methodologies to assess the uptake and use of technology for recreational purposes within Australia and specifically to consider whether individuals who are “at risk” of developing gambling problems also report problems controlling their internet, mobile phone, radio and television use. (3) Use experimental paradigms within a laboratory setting to examine the effects of computer mediation on wagering behaviour and to consider the potential of decisional support to reduce harm.

Contents of the Report

♦ The first sections of the report address relevant research regarding gambling online and associated technologies capabilities and issues (Section 1). This section is divided into the stages of a communication process required for online gambling to occur. It begins by addressing the Access to a Proposition (Section 2) where: information and communication technology is used to transmit a message from the promoter to the consumer indicating that gambling is available online. Next, we consider the Stake (Section 3) where consumers use information and communication technology to register their wagers with the gambling provider. Once this has occurred, the Outcome (Section 4) of any gamble is determined and is communicated to the consumer either by the provider or a third party. Following this, Resolution (Section 5) occurs where messages are sent indicating that accounts have been adjusted either positively or negatively as a function of the outcome. Finally, the literature review deals with issues related to Dispute (Section 6). In the event of problems further messages may be sent to discuss probity and deception. Helping behaviour on the internet, and technologies for assistance are discussed in this section. Conclusions from the literature review are provided in Section 7.

♦ The rationale and introduction to the survey are provided in Section 8, with the sample demographics provided in Section 9. Results of the Survey are provided in Sections 10-15, with Section 10 focusing on Interactive Television, Radio, Internet, Landline and Mobile Phone use and the relationship of each of these to wagering. Section 11 discusses the use of each of these technologies and their interplay with Gambling, which leads into results from the factor analysis in Section 12, which examined factors that influenced recreational technology use. Section 13 considered issues within the survey data relevant to dispute, participants concerns regarding spam and online security, their potential for complaint and access to organisations for assistance. Section 14 Examines differences in the use of interactive services and gambling as a function of age, and Section 15 provides a summary of the survey data and conclusions.

♦ Two experimental studies are considered in this report, with introductions, detailed methodologies, results and discussions of each study provided in Section 16. Overall conclusions for this report are provided in Section 17, with a glossary of terms (Section 18) and the questions used in the online survey (Section 19) provided.

Online Gambling

♦ Traditional (offline) forms of gambling such as Casino games and Electronic Gambling Machines (EGM) placed in gaming venues have been controlled in Australia by licensing operators and by governments limiting the numbers of EGMs or licences for table games.

♦ The converging capabilities of computers, mobile phones, interactive television, set top boxes and games platforms potentially allows online gambling to be available on any of these devices and to be accessed by consumers any time of day from anywhere in the world. This increased availability could lead to increases in gambling-related problems; however research on the relationship between availability and problem gambling suggest that potential increases in problem gambling could be mitigated if appropriate controls are put in place.

Access to Online Gambling

♦ In the current environment, online gambling is only partially regulated and thus poses a higher risk for consumers compared to offline gambling. Despite this, the internet potentially allows consumers to side-step any existing controls and access gambling from unregulated environments using web enabled devices.

♦ This is a potential concern, as the internet is an environment where deception is prevalent and people are less likely to assist others with problems. Nevertheless the Australian Psychological Society has kept abreast of technological advances and a variety of online therapies are also available to assist consumers.

♦ Relationships between availability of products such as alcohol and the problems caused are considered because of their ability to cause harm. Alcohol-related problems are linked to availability, and government attempts to control harm have sought to limit availability, yet research suggests that this strategy may be less effective for those at most risk or alcohol-related problems.

♦ While there may be relationships between availability and problem gambling, they appear to have been mitigated by community controls such as limits of EGMs in local pubs and clubs. However, technology has the potential to increase the accessibility of gaming within the community setting.

♦ Attempts to control these online gambling opportunities may benefit from targeting organisations that host gaming sites, or to restrict the movement of funds, or where regulated, monitor consumers and offer warnings and advice on appropriate devices (e.g. mobile phones and the internet).

The Stake – Gambling Online

♦ It is important to consider differences between populations sampled “online” and “offline”. Issues when recruiting an online sample include who has access to the technology (sample demographic of interest) and how widespread is it use (what proportion of the population use the technology). In addition, characteristics of ‘online’ samples are important given that early research into technological use has suggested psychological differences, with people who were more withdrawn likely to have higher rates of technology use.

♦ Differences in data collection ‘online’ verses ‘offline’ is important in terms of identifying problem gamblers, those who are attracted to particular technologies and also dealing with participants. Ethical issues including the preservation of privacy, informed consent, deception, de-briefing and research methodology all need to be considered when defining a population of interest for study purposes.

♦ The stake also evokes the question of whether online wagering behaviour can be influenced using online messaging. Socio-cognitive accounts have suggested that gambling involves a decision making process and ongoing research has sought to influence the gambler’s decision making process by supplying decisional support.

♦ One limitation with increased availability of online gambling is restricting access to particular sections of the community (e.g. minors). Filters may be used to block access to gambling technology or sites, but they are unlikely to be 100% successful. In addition, biometrics alone will not suffice to block underage gambling. A combination of these approaches may be more efficacious. If consumers gamble electronically, there is the potential for them to be tracked and either offered inducements, or given electronic warnings to minimise harm.

♦ While new technology provides increased opportunities to gamble, there is also the potential for inducements or warnings to target specific individuals (using biometrics) at specific locations (near gaming venues) and times (e.g. during play).

The Outcome

♦ The provider of gaming may supply information to the gambler as to the result of outcomes, or third parties may be involved where sporting events are under consideration.

♦ Where the provider of gaming supplies information as to the result of outcomes, the amount and quality of information may be at issue. There are limitations upon the amount of information that can be transmitted on the internet, mobile phone etc. These limitations mean there is a potential loss of fidelity when conveying outcomes of events in real time. This has meant that the internet was better suited to games involving static outcomes such as sporting events and lotto wagering. These limitations have the potential to be offset with the increase in access to broadband, and the move towards digital as opposed to analogue technology.

♦ Interactivity (and potentially gambling) can be achieved using a number of technologies including PCs (through the internet), via television (through the telephone network e.g. Foxtel) or through games consoles and other devices (e.g. TiVo) that can access the internet, or by using mobile devices such as mobile phones (e.g. via the internet or using premium SMS).

Resolution

♦ After the outcome of the gamble is known, a consumer either loses their stake, or is returned the initial stake and gains some additional amount. This involves the transfer of money electronically. Important areas within this transfer include ‘trust’ of on-line sources, and the protection of privacy for consumers.

♦ A variety of organisations are attempting to deliver services electronically, including organisations that would be involved in resolution of transactions and any dispute associated with on-line gambling. Online interactions can reduce costs and can potentially speed up transactions. The uptake and use of these electronic services requires a degree of consumer trust.

♦ The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 makes it an offence to provide interactive gambling services such as roulette, poker, craps and online poker machines or indeed even advertise them to customers in Australia.

♦ Despite the provisions of the Act, off-shore interactive gambling is advertised in Australia and while it may be an offence to offer such services, it is not an offence to utilise them, with the result Australians are claimed to spend more than an estimated $300 million annually on online poker.

♦ Most online gambling sites require users to first deposit money into a betting account before they can commence gambling in the form of e-cash. Money can be transferred to the betting account from, for example, an existing bank account or debited directly to a credit card such as those supplied by a credit card…

Fonte: Final Report – August 2010

Desresponsabilização:

Consideramos serviço público a difusão de estudos sobre prevalência do jogo patológico, pesquisa no domínio da terapia e jogo de fortuna ou azar online. A obtenção dos dados que publicamos  resulta de uma monitorização permanente que fazemos aos centros de conhecimento que os realizam e a outras fontes de referência. Na sua divulgação reside a nossa convicção que poderão ser úteis para a realização de futuros trabalhos académicos ou científicos. Se, por algum motivo, os autores ou terceiros entenderem que esta partilha colide com qualquer direito de propriedade, ou outro, basta que nos transmitam  e enviem uma exposição de motivos atendíveis para serem retirados imediatamente das nossas páginas.

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