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Gambling Risk Groups are Not All the Same: Risk Factors Amongst Sports Bettors

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Abstract

Sports betting is increasing worldwide, with an associated increase in sports betting-related problems. Previous studies have examined risk factors for problem gambling amongst sports bettors and have identified demographic, behavioural, marketing, normative and impulsiveness factors. These studies have generally compared those in problem gambling, or a combination of moderate risk and problem gambling, groups to non-problem gamblers, often due to statistical power issues. However, recent evidence suggests that, at a population level, the bulk of gambling-related harm stems from low risk and moderate risk gamblers, rather than problem gamblers. Thus it is essential to understand the risk factors for each level of gambling-related problems (low risk, moderate risk, problem) separately. The present study used a large sample (N = 1813) to compare each gambling risk group to non-problem gamblers, first using bivariate and then multivariate statistical techniques. A range of demographic, behavioural, marketing, normative and impulsiveness variables were included as possible risk factors. The results indicated that some variables, such as gambling expenditure, number of accounts with different operators, number of different types of promotions used and impulsiveness were significantly higher for all risk groups, while others such as some normative factors, age, gender and particular sports betting variables only applied to those with the highest level of gambling-related problems. The results generally supported findings from previous literature for problem gamblers, and extended these findings to low risk and moderate risk groups. In the future, where statistical power allows, risk factors should be assessed separately for all levels of gambling problems.

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by internal funding from the Centre for Gambling Education and Research at Southern Cross University. The lead author was a member of this Centre at the time that the data were collected.

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Correspondence to Alex M. T. Russell.

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Conflict of interest

Alex Russell has received funding from industry and government sources. Industry funding was for an evaluation of problem gambling amongst casino employees from Echo/Star Entertainment Group. Government funding has been obtained from: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation; Queensland Justice and Attorney-General; Gambling Research Australia and the Alberta Gambling Research Institute. He is also affiliated with the University of Sydney. He declares no conflicts of interest in relation to this manuscript. Nerilee Hing has received research funds from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Gambling Research Australia, Australian Government Department of Social Services, Alberta Gambling Research Institute, the Australian Gambling Research Centre and the Queensland, New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian Governments. She has also received consultancy funds from Echo Entertainment and Sportsbet and an honorarium from Singapore Pools for membership of its International Advisory Committee. She declares that she has no conflicts of interest in relation to this manuscript. En Li has received research grants from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and Gambling Research Australia. He declares that he has no conflicts of interest in relation to this manuscript. Peter Vitartas has received research funds from the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General and declares no conflicts of interest in relation to this manuscript.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Russell, A.M.T., Hing, N., Li, E. et al. Gambling Risk Groups are Not All the Same: Risk Factors Amongst Sports Bettors. J Gambl Stud 35, 225–246 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-018-9765-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-018-9765-z

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