1 thought on “New data show no rise in problem gambling since 1999”

  1. Posted 01/05/2014 at 16:20 | Permalink

    Thanks for this but if you can let me examine post hoc ergo propter hoc a little more.

    The DSM-IV screen used in all these studies showed no rise at all 1999-2007 whereas the alleged crack of FOBTs were introduced in 2001 not as a result of legislation but of product innovation. By 2007 there were 27,500 of them up and running when the same screen done by the same people using the same sampling technique showed no change. The formalisation of the machines legal position in 2007 made little or no difference to their existence or operation as they were operating under an industry code that was incorporated to the legislation already, much as the new ABB code is going to be incorporated shortly.

    The potential blip, at the margins of significance in the period 2007-10 corresponds with the financial crash, falling real wages and an increase in unemployment of over 1m.

    A reasonable hypothesis would be that the screens which naturally include questions on the financial impact of gambling can be affected by changed financial circumstances. The adaptive theory in terms of gambling behaviour would suggest that worsened financial circumstances should lead to more meeting the problem gambling criteria and that over time people adapt their behaviour to the changed circumstances. I know this hypothesis is post hoc too but the theory matches the outcomes much better, is the result I predicted for the 2010 research and has a clear rationale. If this theory is right then the measures look to be solid, able to detect relatively small changes over time and the hypothesis is predictive for all the results over all the survey years.

    Essentially problem gambling is relatively rare and relatively stable, we can chuck FOBTs at gamblers – £1.5bn in bookies £300m in bingo halls, £150m in casinos, add in the Internet, now yielding about £2.4bn a year in the UK and despite this huge technological change in how people gamble since 1999, and the increased availability of gambling, the problem gambling rate remains low and stable. Exactly what you would expect of a pathological condition which needs help support and treatment.

Comments are closed.