Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 31–43 | Cite as

Rapid Onset of Pathological Gambling in Machine Gamblers

Abstract

A particularly rapid onset of pathological gambling (PG-onset) through the use of gambling machines has been widely alluded to, but this is the first study to empirically examine the phenomenon. This study compared the latency of PG-onset in those who gambled primarily on machines, compared to those who gambled primarily on more “traditional” forms of gambling at PG-onset. Subjects were 44 adult pathological gamblers (PGs) seeking outpatient treatment in Rhode Island (17 females; mean age = 46.9). Subjects completed questionnaires and a diagnostic interview including a complete history of gambling activities and the course of PG. The “latency” of PG-onset was defined as the time (in years) elapsed between the age of regular involvement in the primary form of gambling and the age at which DSM-IV criteria were first met. “Machine” PGs (n = 25) had a significantly shorter latency of onset than did “traditional” PGs (1.08 years vs. 3.58 years). Females and machine PGs had a significantly older age of onset, but gender was not associated with latency of PG-onset. Lifetime comorbidity of either substance use disorders (SUDS) or depressive disorders (DDS) was also not associated with the latency of PG-onset. The results of the current study suggest that intrapersonal variables such as gender and comorbid disorders do not generally affect the speed with which people develop PG. Rather, the social, environmental, and stimulus features of mechanized gambling are implicated. Prospective longitudinal studies on the onset and course of PG are needed, as well as more basic research on the features of machine gambling that may contribute to rapid onset.

gambling machines onset course compulsive 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Beaudoin, C. M. & Cox, B. J. (1999) Characteristics of problem gambling in a Canadian context: A preliminary study using a DSM-IV-based questionnaire. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 44, 483–487.Google Scholar
  2. Blaszczynski, A., Dumlao, V. & Lange, M. (1997) “How much do you spend gambling?” Ambiguities in survey questionnaire items. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13, 237–252.Google Scholar
  3. Breen, R.B. (2000). Gambling History Questionnaire, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI.Google Scholar
  4. Breen, R. B. (2000a, June). Rapid Onset of Pathological Gambling in Machine Gambling Compared to Other Forms. Paper presentation: 11th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking, sponsored by the University of Nevada, Reno-the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming, Las Vegas, NV.Google Scholar
  5. Breen, R. B. (2000b, June). Harm Reduction in Machine Gambling: How the Stimulus Situation Affects Impulsive Responding-Suggestions for Impulse-Control Re-Training. Paper presentation: 11th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking, sponsored by the University of Nevada, Reno-the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming, Las Vegas, NV.Google Scholar
  6. Christiansen Capital Advisors. (2000, June 7). Casino backers set to up the ante. The Providence Journal, p. B-01.Google Scholar
  7. Crisp, B.R., Thomas, S.A., Jackson, A.C., Thomason, N., Smith, S., Borrell, J., Ho, W., & Holt, T.A. (2000). Sex differences in the treatment needs and outcomes of problem gamblers. Research on Social Work Practice, 10, 229–242.Google Scholar
  8. Dickerson, M. (1993) Internal and external determinants of persistent gambling: Problems in generalizing from one form to another. In W. R. Eadington and J. Cornelius (Eds.), Gambling behavior and problem gambling. Reno: Institute For the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming.Google Scholar
  9. Fabian, T. (1995). Pathological gambling: A comparison of gambling at German-style slot machines and “classical” gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 11, 249–264.Google Scholar
  10. First, M.B., Spitzer, R.L., Gibbon, M. & Williams, J.B.W. (1995). The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I disorders. New York: New York State Psychiatric Institute.Google Scholar
  11. Fisher, S. & Griffiths, M. (1995). Current trends in slot machine gambling: Research and policy issues. Journal of Gambling Studies, 11, 239–248.Google Scholar
  12. Lesieur, H. R. (1984). The chase: Career of the compulsive gambler. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman.Google Scholar
  13. Lesieur, H. R. & Blume, S. (1987). The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS): A new instrument for the identification of pathological gamblers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 1184–1188.Google Scholar
  14. Mark, M.E. & Lesieur, H.R. (1992). A feminist critique of problem gambling research. British Journal of Addiction, 87,549–565.Google Scholar
  15. Morgan, T., Kofoed, L., Buchkoski, J. & Carr, R.D. (1996). Video lottery gambling: Effects on pathological gamblers seeking treatment in South Dakota. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 451–460.Google Scholar
  16. Reid, R. (1986). The psychology of the near miss. Journal of Gambling Studies, 2, 32–39.Google Scholar
  17. Tavares, H., Zilberman, M. L., Beites, F.J. & Gentil, V. (2001). Gender differences in gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 17, 151–159.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryBrown University School of MedicineProvidence

Personalised recommendations