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Daily Fantasy Sports Players: Gambling, Addiction, and Mental Health Problems

  • Lia Nower
  • Kyle R. Caler
  • Dylan Pickering
  • Alex Blaszczynski
Original Paper

Abstract

Studies point to a relationship between fantasy sports/daily fantasy sports (DFS) play and gambling behavior. However, little is known about the nature of those relationships, particularly regarding the development of gambling problems. This study investigates the nature, frequency, and preferences of gambling behavior as well as problem gambling severity and comorbid conditions among DFS players. Data were collected from an epidemiologic survey of 3634 New Jersey residents on gambling and leisure activities. Participants were contacted by phone (land-line and cell) and online to obtain a representative, cross-sectional sample of non-institutionalized adults, aged 18 years or older. Excluding non-gamblers, the remaining 2146 participants, included in these analyses, indicated they had either played DFS (n = 299) or had gambled but not played DFS (1847) in the past year. Univariate comparisons and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the most significant characteristics and predictors of DFS players. Overall, a higher number of gambling activities, high frequency gambling, male gender, and reports of suicidal thoughts in the past year were most predictive of DFS players. Being Hispanic (vs. Caucasian) and/or single (vs. married or living with a partner) also doubled the odds of DFS play. Findings suggest that DFS players are characterized by high gambling frequency and problem severity and comorbid problems, notably suicidal ideation. Future research should examine the motivations and possible etiological sub-types of DFS players and the nature and course of DFS play, particularly in relation to gambling behavior and the development of gambling and other problems.

Keywords

Daily fantasy sports Gambling Problem gambling Disordered gambling Comorbidity Subtypes 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The researchers would like to thank Director David L. Rebuck, Robert Moncrief, Shien Lafshieri and Suzanne Borys for their assistance with this ongoing research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

This study was supported by a grant from the New Jersey Divisions of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), in collaboration with the Division on Addictions, Department of Mental Health and Addictive Services. Funding was provided to the DGE by law by industry corporations with online gaming licenses in New Jersey. Drs. Nower and Blaszczynski have both received grants from or consulting contracts from industry, governmental, and/or non-profit organizations on projects unconnected to this work. Author Caler is employed through the DGE grant and declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Pickering is supported, in part, by a research center that receives funding from the gaming industry for projects unrelated to this article.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were approved by the Rutgers University Internal Review Board and performed in accordance with their ethical standards and those of the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Gambling StudiesRutgers University School of Social WorkNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic, School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

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