Gambling is a popular hobby for many people. However, problem gambling is a serious concern and can lead to gambling disorders. It is important to understand how gambling disorders develop so that you can help someone with a gambling disorder. Fortunately, there are some tools that can be used to prevent gambling problems. There are a variety of tools available to gamblers who have concerns about their gambling behavior. These tools can include self-tests, online support groups, and gambling cessation programs. These tools can be helpful in helping a gambler change their habits and stop gambling altogether. In addition, these tools can also be used to increase awareness of gambling problems and the need for treatment. One new toolkit that has been released this week is a resource designed to promote Responsible Gaming (RG) during sports betting.
The American Gaming Association is promoting the resource as part of Responsible Gambling Education Month. It includes fact sheets about unregulated skill machines and offshore operators making false claims about being legal. RG tools are intended to decrease gambling for at-risk gamblers by providing feedback and encouraging behavioral change. They are based on Motivational Interviewing and the Stages of Change model. This toolkit has three components to promote RG: 1) a risk assessment based on the user’s gambling history, 2) targeted communication to users in different risk categories, and 3) an incentive system that encourages the user to reduce their betting. The latter is based on a point system and is automatically deducted from the user’s account when their risk level increases.
This toolkit has been made available to all responsible gambling professionals and the public through a dedicated webpage. The site provides a range of resources, including a brief biosocial gambling screen (BBGS) in both print and e-screener formats that are available in 22 languages. The toolkit also offers a variety of graphics and logos that can be used for Responsible Gambling Month (PGAM) activities, including an e-screener banner and a poster for use on social media. A study that explored Norwegian Playscan dropouts’ use of and potential change in gambling behavior found no decrease in the frequency of gambling or number of days gambled when comparing 14 days before they joined the tool to 14 days after.
The researchers suggest that the lack of a decrease is likely due to the users not utilizing the advice function after they had answered their first self-test and received their risk assessment. This research suggests that if a RG tool is to be effective, it needs to be mandatory for users of gambling sites. This will eliminate the possibility of users dropping out, as was the case with Playscan, and might increase the effect size. Furthermore, the authors recommend that future studies investigate the reasons why the advice function is not utilized. A reason might be that the users wanted only an initial risk assessment and did not want to be reminded of their gambling behavior.