Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1671–1693 | Cite as

Decoding Problem Gamblers’ Signals: A Decision Model for Casino Enterprises

Original Paper

Abstract

The aim of the present study is to offer a validated decision model for casino enterprises. The model enables those users to perform early detection of problem gamblers and fulfill their ethical duty of social cost minimization. To this end, the interpretation of casino customers’ nonverbal communication is understood as a signal-processing problem. Indicators of problem gambling recommended by Delfabbro et al. (Identifying problem gamblers in gambling venues: final report, 2007) are combined with Viterbi algorithm into an interdisciplinary model that helps decoding signals emitted by casino customers. Model output consists of a historical path of mental states and cumulated social costs associated with a particular client. Groups of problem and non-problem gamblers were simulated to investigate the model’s diagnostic capability and its cost minimization ability. Each group consisted of 26 subjects and was subsequently enlarged to 100 subjects. In approximately 95 % of the cases, mental states were correctly decoded for problem gamblers. Statistical analysis using planned contrasts revealed that the model is relatively robust to the suppression of signals performed by casino clientele facing gambling problems as well as to misjudgments made by staff regarding the clients’ mental states. Only if the last mentioned source of error occurs in a very pronounced manner, i.e. judgment is extremely faulty, cumulated social costs might be distorted.

Keywords

Problem gambling Business ethics Viterbi algorithm Decoding Model error Model validation Decision model 

JEL Classification

D80 M140 I120 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of FinanceHeinrich-Heine-University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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