GAMBLING UP TO NOWHERE


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When problem gambling worsens into an addiction, people fail repeatedly to curb their habit

Pathological gamblers may be more likely to remember their parents as having gambled heavily than others would, even if there were no real differences between the two sets of parents. In effect, unless retrospective surveys are very carefully designed and conducted, they cannot determine whether social influence through exposure plays a causal role in pathological gambling.

Another aspect of the social context of gambling that may influence people's propensity to develop problems with gambling is their practice of gambling in the company of friends or family. For instance, men who frequent the racetrack or who play poker together in the same group may develop or reinforce friendships around this activity.

Many Americans used to invite one another to their homes for informal card games, sometimes limiting themselves to penny wagers. Elderly people and married women gambled with friends and family in bingo parlors or church basements; in some English communities, the bingo game was women's single opportunity to socialize outside the house Dixey, Many large casinos today are attractive to elderly people because they can attend with friends or family. Racetracks, casinos, and cardrooms often feature restaurants and other spaces where people can meet. In England and Europe, there are exclusive gambling clubs where people can socialize with others in their social circle.

Two opposing hypotheses seem reasonable. On one hand, it is possible that gambling with friends or family compared with gambling alone or in the presence of strangers is unlikely to result in excessive gambling, at least in the short run. Pleasurable social interaction increases positive feelings. Although positive feelings increase people's perceived probability of winning, they also reduce betting Nygren et al.

As well, social pressures from family and friends who are present may reduce gamblers' alcohol consumption or limit their expenditures. On the other hand, if friends and family gamble excessively, other members of these friendship and family groups could be led to do the same. Those who grow up in families in which family members gamble frequently, and those who have friends with gambling problems, could learn to use gambling as a response to stress, or perhaps to underestimate their gambling problems.

In one study, problem gamblers were more likely than other gamblers to engage in team lottery play Hraba and Lee, Americans seem to love technology and the products and services made possible by technology. In , people over 18 spent about 3, hours watching TV and videos, listening to the radio and recorded music, playing home video games, and reading printed books, newspapers, and magazines Bureau of the Census, Interaction with a home computer is fast approaching the popularity of these older technologies and activities.

The first home computers were introduced as a hobbyist kit in Today, about 40 percent of all U. Computer technologies in homes, offices, and public places combine and increase the functionality of older technologies, providing new ways to use information and to communicate with others. None of the major changes in the organization of computing and in computing technology was foreseen even halfway in the century—the rise of high-technology industries, the shifts in office employment from clerical to technical labor, the popularity of electronic mail, the adoption of home computers, and the phenomenal spread of the Internet from sites in to 2.

The organization and technology of gambling has changed no less dramatically and no less surprisingly in the past few decades. Some indicators of this change can be gleaned from analyses of gambling revenues and consumer spending. For example, in an analysis of the demand for commercial gambling, Christiansen , Table listed sources of revenue from gambling in and In but not in , revenues from the following types of gambling were sufficiently well measured or noticeable to be listed: intertrack wagering horses , intertrack wagering greyhounds , offtrack betting greyhounds , video lotteries, cruise ship casinos, deepwater cruise ships, cruises-to-nowhere, other commercial casino gambling, noncasino devices, and Indian reservation Class II e.

During this period, consumer expenditures on gambling increased at an annual rate of At the same time, a redistribution of revenue sources occurred across types of gambling. People spent less at the racetrack and on traditional table games and bingo, and more on casinos, lotteries, cardrooms, and sports betting. Changes in the marketing of gambling may alter the demographics of gambling and pathological gambling. As gambling has become more acceptable as a business investment Eadington, , popular marketing techniques have been applied to increase gambling sales and profits.

Increasingly, businesses target particular market segments. For example, whereas racetracks traditionally attracted men and people who could or would take time off from work, casinos may offer baby-sitting facilities for parents and weekend package getaways for working people to reduce their effort and concerns about budget and time. Casinos also evaluate how to use floor space in relation to their market Dandurand, Lotteries may attract gamblers who are female, minority, low income, or elderly because they are practically effort-free and do not require risky social behaviors or large investments Lorenz, During the period when legalization and the open marketing of gambling opened large new markets to gambling, technical advances in computing and telecommunications made possible the creation of new automated gambling devices and services, better casino security and policing against cheating, development of remote gambling services, consolidated operations across states and venues, and better collection and use of market data from such information sources as credit ratings, Internet hits, and membership club card records.

The rapidly growing high-technology gambling industry suggests that future advances in multimedia, digitization, satellites, and the like will lead to many future technological changes in gambling. Technological change is evident even in the traditional horse racing industry. A decade ago, competition with other forms of legal gambling threatened the owners of horses, training facilities, and racetracks with slimmer profits as new forms of gambling gave customers new entertainment options. New technology in the form of satellite wagering facilities or "betting parlors," simulcast races, and video poker machines that could run 48 hours a day may have saved some racetracks.

Racetracks today offer new wagering options on chance-based games made possible by computers e. New games such as picking the winner of six races can offer large payoffs with low probabilities of a win, approaches that increase profits and attract customers. Changes in computers and telecommunications are changing the way racing games are being distributed. Wagering on horse races is now available to many people without leaving their homes. The Internet offers hundreds of web sites where people can bet on a variety of sports, including racing.

It is not clear what effect these new gambling opportunities will have; for example, complexity in games can actually reduce risk-taking Johnson and Bruce, In evaluating the impact of technological change on pathological gambling, we cannot make predictions based on technical features alone Shaffer, For instance, the telephone, TV, and the Internet are all technologies that have the potential to reduce the importance of physical distance as a constraint on gambling.

They reduce the financial and behavior costs of getting information about gambling and increase people's gambling options. However, people could use both the telephone and the Internet, instead, to augment their traditional face-to-face communication for social contact. They could expand their number of friends and acquaintances and reduce the difficulty of coordinating interaction with them. Alternatively, because these technologies disproportionately reduce the costs of communication with geographically distant friends and acquaintances, they may lead to shifts in people's portfolios to more distant contacts.

In addition, the Internet, through such things as interactive games and distribution lists, fosters communication among strangers. As a result, people who use these technologies heavily may have a smaller proportion of their total social contacts with family and close friends. Gambling via cable or satellite television and the Internet provides asocial entertainment and information that could compete with social contact as a way for people to spend their time. Several writers have argued that playing computer-based game machines is more likely to lead to pathological gambling than other forms of gambling e.

Morgan and colleagues reported that video lottery gambling is the predominant type of gambling behavior engaged in by gamblers seeking treatment. Fisher and Griffiths argue that England's legal "fruit machines" slots are especially risky for adolescents. They claim that game machines, better than other technologies, can be designed and programmed to encourage frequent gambling.

Gupta and Derevensky asked heavy and light video-game-playing children ages in Canada to complete a questionnaire and to play a computer blackjack game. The high-frequency video game players were more likely to report being regular gamblers. Heavy-playing boys also bet more on the blackjack tasks.

The authors speculate that experience with video games, in which practice can improve performance, leads teenagers to have the illusion that gambling machine games are somehow solvable. Griffiths found that troubled teenagers problem gamblers, those who had been charged with crimes were likely to hang out in video arcades and to play fruit machines frequently. However, this study and others on the correlates of children's machine gambling are only suggestive of a causal link between playing game machines and pathological gambling, and reasonable alternative explanations exist.

For example, background and personal factors leading British adolescents to get into trouble could also lead them to hang out in arcades, play slots, and also to have illusions of skill in their gambling and other areas of their lives. If new game machines such as video poker machines can be tailored to their users, they might be able to deliver more effective reward contingencies.

Such an effect could increase the probability of problem gambling. Kilby discussed an older rating system for casino players whereby records were kept of frequent patrons' conversions of currency to chips. Those who cashed in more money might be given more "comps" such as free food, drinks, or games. Today, plastic club cards used with game machines are a far more sophisticated version of the old system; they can record exactly how much a gambler is wagering on which types of games.

In theory, these cards can track gambler preferences, wagers, and outcomes; future rewards and games can be "personalized" to those patterns Popkin and Hetter, The cards also can be used to tally frequent gambler credits, encouraging loyalty to the casino or other venue. Telecommunications technology also could be used in tailoring gambling to customer preferences and responses.

Current gambling sites on the Internet require customers to provide their name, postal address, email address, social security number, and credit card information. Some sites require customers also to provide the name of the customer's mother's maiden name or other specific identifying information. Typically software has to be downloaded to the customer's machine as well; the customer's machine has a unique address that allows records to be kept over time about the use of that machine. Software can record gamblers' identity when they start a gambling session and passively log the time they spend gambling, the game they play, the time they spend logged into the Internet, the address that identifies the web pages they connect to, and in some cases the electronic mail addresses they exchange email with.

Although current Internet gambling sites are fairly traditional in their design and have problems with slow response time and errors, the technology provides opportunity for much more sophisticated, adaptive applications in the future.

20% of gamblers attempt suicide — why don't we take the addiction more seriously?

Many scholars, technologists, and social critics debate how computer technologies, and the Internet in particular, are transforming economic and social life e. It has been posited that home gambling and the Internet may attract adolescent gamblers, or cause people to get addicted to gambling and cut themselves off from normal social constraints on gambling, as they hunker alone over their terminals playing games in electronic casinos or betting with anonymous strangers through chat rooms. However, it could also be argued that gambling problems at home, whether via the Internet or some other telecommunications technology, will be rare.

It has been claimed that the Internet actually offers people more and better entertainment and social opportunities by freeing them from the constraints of geography or isolation brought on by stigma, illness, or schedule e. There are at least two reasons why computer-based gambling at home should be studied further, using methodologies that can distinguish the effects of gambling at home from other factors. One reason is that gambling at home may increase people's susceptibility to pathological gambling through the ease and frequency with which they can gamble.

Another reason is that gambling at home may contribute to other personal problems. In particular, gambling at home is likely to increase passive leisure activity and solo gambling, and it may displace time spent on active, social interaction including social gambling excursions with others and table games at home. Computer-based gambling at home may have effects similar to those of watching television. Empirical work suggests that television-watching reduces social interaction Jackson-Beeck and Robinson, ; Neuman, ; Maccoby, At the individual level, social disengagement is associated with poor quality of life and diminished physical and psychological health.

Time studies show that social interactions are among the most pleasant experiences people have Robinson and Godbey, People who have close ties with local friends, neighbors, and family have available to them social support that seems to buffer them from life stresses Cohen and Wills, One study also shows that the social support that people get from distant acquaintances, friends, and family is less effective in buffering daily stress than the support they get from their local friends and neighbors Wellman and Wortley, b.

Compared with people who have little social contact in their lives, people with more social contact are physically healthier, mentally healthier, and happier e. Gambling at home also may encourage passive, sedentary activity, as watching television does. Recent epidemiological research has linked television-watching with reduced physical activity and diminished physical and mental health Anderson and Van Der Heijden, Gambling by adolescents is correlated with watching television and other passive leisure-time activities Junger and Wiegersma, Computers and telecommunications are changing the gambling industry, individuals' opportunities to gamble, and the social context of gambling.

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The effects of these technologies, especially of home gambling and the Internet, are highly uncertain. Putnam and Condry have pointed to the television as a technology that has caused Americans to withdraw from personal and civic relationships, to the detriment of the television watchers themselves and the community as a whole.

However, even for the case of television, which has been around for years, we have only a weak causal chain, suggesting that television viewing reduces social involvement or activity which in turn reduces physical and psychological health. The chain for the case of gambling machines and home gambling is even weaker. Studies of the prevalence of pathological or problem gambling for different types of gambling do not generally control for extraneous factors, including survey questions, locale, and year in which the survey was done. Computer-based video machine gambling is new enough that it is not well represented even in the modest number of surveys that address the issue.

Hence the impact of technology remains an important but open question. We do not know whether problem gamblers are more attracted to video or machine gambling than gamblers without problems, and we do not understand the mechanisms that account for the associations reported in the literature. Research is needed that allows us to better understand the link between use of gambling technologies and subsequent changes in gambling disorders. By conducting natural experiments and prospective studies, preferably with national samples, it would be possible to estimate the extent to which conclusions from correlational cross-sectional studies are valid or widespread and to determine some of their limiting conditions.

By differentiating social and asocial types of gambling, and by employing careful measures such as time diaries and assessments of the size and type of social circles that gamblers maintain, researchers would be able to test several of the plausible mechanisms by which use of technology may change vulnerability to pathological gambling. Research on the organization and technology of gambling should be evaluated in the context of the sparse research on social and technological change more generally.

Little empirical research exists even about the social effects of such important technologies as the television and the telephone. Laboratory studies on technology in gambling have tended to focus on the structure of gambles rather than gambling habits and social outcomes. These studies have led to important theories about the nature of betting, but their implications for technology and gambling problems have not been tested. Few if any gambling organizations would be willing to run public experiments on these issues, and even if they did, the link to pathological gambling would be difficult to trace.

Field research on the organization and technology of gambling is rare, although there is a body of literature on the effects of legalization, most of which relies on cross-sectional surveys and self-reports of gambling behaviors. Since legalization is likely to change reporting along with the technology, markets, attitudes, and constraints of gambling, it is hard to draw conclusions about how a particular aspect of legalization is affecting people.

One way to study the effects of new technology or organization in natural settings is through natural experiments; natural experiments elicit data to which time series analyses can be applied see Lyons and Ghezzi, Another approach would be to conduct prospective, longitudinal studies of individuals. This approach has long been used in studies of health and disease e. However, it is possible that little is to be gained from a dedicated longitudinal prospective study of pathological gambling, since only a tiny percentage of the sample is likely to develop a gambling problem.

Still, it would seem feasible and worthwhile to add measures of gambling and related leisure activities and outcomes e. Doing so would not only add valuable information about gambling over time, but would also provide important information about baseline date and comorbidity. Even prospective studies can pose threats to valid causal claims.

First, statistical controls may not adequately equate groups e. Preexisting factors ranging from cohort characteristics to biological stress could cause people to be predisposed to gambling and as well to be attracted to a particular type of game or gambling setting.

US Gambling History & Expansion | California Council on Problem Gambling

Second, unmeasured variables that change over time may induce both gambling of certain types and changes in outcomes such as problem gambling. Measuring gambling in relationship to how people spend their time and money more generally might be useful in understanding other factors that may be related to both normal, social gambling and problem gambling. Detailed studies using time and expenditure measures; measures of social network size, social activities, and stress; psychological measures of social support and physical and mental health could contribute to understanding of the relationships between problem gambling, how people use technology, time, and money, social interaction, and the size of social networks.

Turn recording back on. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Search term. History Much of what we know about the effects of earlier changes in the gambling industry and gambling technologies—such as the introduction of slot machines and the legalization of casinos in Nevada—comes from historical, biographical, and ethnographic narratives e.

Nature and Structure of Games A large body of research suggests that today's gambling technologies and venues take advantage of people's normal responses to reward contingencies and to people's cognitive biases, perceptions of risk, and tendency to compartmentalize mental accounts of their expenditures e. Reward Contingencies Most of the early experimental literature related to gambling focused on the tangible rewards in gambling and were derived from studies of learning through reinforcement and conditioning.

Cognitive Distortions Research on the cognitive processes involved in judgment and choice has been fruitful in helping to elucidate gambling choices and preferences and, by extension, the kinds of technologies that may encourage habitual or excessive gambling Wagenaar, Game Structure The characteristics of game technologies, such as the number of gambles offered per time period, the physical and informational environment of games, game rules, speed of play, probabilistic structure, cost per play, and jackpot size, appear to affect gambling preferences and habits.

Legalization and Social Influence Legalization is assumed to dramatically change the organization and technology of gambling as new businesses enter the market. Adults, as well as children and teenagers, are influenced by their peers Harris and Liebert, Effects of Changing Technology Americans seem to love technology and the products and services made possible by technology.

Game Machines Several writers have argued that playing computer-based game machines is more likely to lead to pathological gambling than other forms of gambling e. Home Gambling Many scholars, technologists, and social critics debate how computer technologies, and the Internet in particular, are transforming economic and social life e. Conclusions Computers and telecommunications are changing the gambling industry, individuals' opportunities to gamble, and the social context of gambling. References Anderson A. Van Der Heijden Media, culture, and the environment.

Environmental Politics 7 4 Barrett, L. Russell Independence and bipolarity in the structure of current affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74 4 Bureau of the Census Estimates for recorded music and video games include persons 12 and older. Washington, DC: U. Department of Commerce. Chantal, Y. Vallerand, and E. Vallieres Motivation and gambling involvement. Journal of Social Psychology 6 Chau, A.

Phillips Effects of perceived control upon wagering and attributions in computer blackjack. Journal of General Psychology Chavetz, H. Simon New York: C. Cialdini, R. Influence: Science and Practice, 3rd ed. Clotfelter, C. Cook Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America.

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Coate, D. Ross The effect of off-track betting in New York City on revenues to the city and state governments. National Tax Journal Cohen, J. Boyle, and A. Shubsachs Rouge et noir: Influence of previous play on choice of binary event outcome and size of stake in a gambling situation. Acta Psychologica Chesnick The doctrine of psychological chances. British Journal of Psychology 61 3 Cohen, S. Wills Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis.

Psychological Bulletin 98 2 Cole, W.

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Hastie The effects of lottery game structure and format on subjective probability and attractiveness of gambles. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 4 4 Condry, J. Thief of time, unfaithful servant: Television and the American child. Daedalus 1 Cook, C. Clotfelter The peculiar scale economies of lotto.

American Economic Review 83 3 Cox, S. Lesieur, R.

Rosenthal, and R. Volberg Dandurand, L. Market niche analysis in the casino gaming industry. Journal of Gambling Studies Dixey, R. It's a great feeling when you win: Women and bingo. Leisure Studies 6 2 Downes, D. Davies, and M. David London: Routledge and Kegan. Eadington, W. Studies in the Business of Gambling. Emerson, M. Laundergan Gambling and problem gambling among adult Minnesotans: Changes to Journal of Gambling Studies 12 3 Fabian, A. Fabian, T. Pathological gambling: A comparison of gambling at German-style slot machines and "classical" gambling.

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Slovic, S. Derby, and R. Keeney Acceptable Risk. New York: Cambridge University Press. Fisher, S. Identifying video game addiction in children and adolescents. Problem gambling includes lying about losses, feeling guilty about gambling, and missing school or work because of it. When problem gambling worsens into an addiction, also known as pathological or compulsive gambling, people fail repeatedly to curb their habit. And if they manage to stop, they have withdrawal symptoms, including restlessness and irritability. They gamble increasing sums to maintain the rush of excitement.

Why Asian-American students have a higher rate of gambling-related problems is not entirely clear, said Nolan Zane, a professor of psychology and Asian-American studies at the University of California-Davis.

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He thinks cultural, social and psychological factors all play a role. At family and social events, for example, many Asian-American adults bet money in games that involve skill and chance, such as mahjong. Often, they teach children to play, too. Exposing youngsters to gambling at an early age tends to normalize it. Rather, they gamble to cope with negative feelings, such as anxiety, shame, loneliness or a sense of being disconnected from the college culture or mainstream society.

Some immigrants who work at low-paying jobs are under financial strain and perceive gambling as a magic ticket, especially if their English is poor, Liao said. Even well-educated young Asian-Americans can get caught up in the allure of big money. He was an assistant and translator for an investor in a cosmetics company. Market Watch. Pinterest Reddit. By Arijit Barman. A circular driveway to the main entrance dazzles with reflected lights on the surface of the surrounding lagoon.

This is where Bollywood starlets and BMW convertibles roll up the ramp onto the forecourt. Once you pass the two bouncers at the gates, gamblers can stake lakhs on blackjack tables or soak in the suspense of the spinning roulette wheel. With three distinct gaming zones, you can easily fritter away your paycheck on the sea of glitzy slot machines while young hostesses encourage you to make one more throw of the dice.

And after you have gotten rid of it all, you can drown your sorrows in locally made Vodka or the finest Old Durbar blended scotch sitting at the long, narrow bar while watching Champions League football on a giant LED screen. And if minor Bollywood celebrities are your thing, then show up on May 12 for the Shamita Shetty night. Border checks have become tougher in the past month. All you need is to navigate the customs bureaucracy, dust, grime, touts, travel agents and lorries that ferry essential goods along National Highway 29 into the Mountain Kingdom. It took him 10 minutes to fritter away Rs 25, on the baccarat table.

With more than 50 expertly appointed gaming tables featuring classics like blackjack and three-card poker plus Indian favourites flush or teen patti, the resort has become the favourite gateway for gents from the two Indian states. Such is the demand that the company, which operates casinos around Asia, is planning a similar outpost in Jhapa, Bihar, said employees.

A view from inside the casino The company, in a recent regulatory filing, said the feedback from the VIP gaming rooms in Tiger Palace has been overwhelmingly positive and that it continues to see good traction. While Indians flock to the property, Chinese players dominate its Kathmandu hotspot. With the ongoing rise in the number of affluent Indians, Nepal — sandwiched between superpowers India and China, with a population of just 29 million — is increasingly being touted as the next Asian casino capital.

Most of the smaller places have shut and some have switched to online gambling.

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