Last month (April 21-23), three members of the FCRG – Dr. Adrian Parke, Andrew Harris (research assistant), and Dr. Amanda Roberts all presented some their recent research findings at a conference in Toronto, Canada. The conference (Discovery 2015) is run annually by The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC). The RGC is an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to problem gambling prevention. Given the aims of the RGC, the Discovery conference is a key event for the FCRG gambling researchers to disseminate the results of their research.

Dr. Adrian Parke presented a poster entitled “The Role of Stake Size in Loss of Control in Within-Session Gambling“. Using a repeated-measures design, this study found that participants’ decision-making became increasingly worse (impaired) when gambling at higher stakes (£20 per spin on a virtual roulette simulation) compared to lower stakes (£2 per spin). This impaired decision-making occurred regardless of whether participants were winning or losing. These results provide support for a stake-related risk factor for problem gambling, other than rate of loss. Dr. Parke and his colleagues suggest that future research should examine the effects of stake size in conjunction with other characteristics of EGM (Electronic Gaming Machine) gambling.

Andrew Harris presented a poster entitled ” Are Executive Functions Affected by Slot Machine Speed of Play? The Impact of Reel Speed on Motor Response Inhibition”. This study found empirical evidence that faster game-play on an electronic slot machine simulator led to a greater loss of control. This loss of control manifested as an impairment in motor response inhibition, measured via an integrated Go/No-Go paradigm. Implications of gambling harm minimisation strategies are discussed.

Dr. Amanda Roberts presented a poster entitled ” Gambling Problems, Traumatic Life Events and the Perpetration of Violence”. This study aimed to examine the relationship between problem-gambling and violence – including intimate partner violence (IPV) and traumatic life events – in a nationally representative sample of men in the UK. The results revealed a strong relationship between gambling problems and family violence (as well as other forms), especially in those with comorbid alcohol dependence. Dr. Roberts and her colleagues argue that negative effects associated with problem-gambling (worsened by alcohol abuse in some cases) can lead to stress and antagonism that is directed towards others, particularly those in immediate surroundings (e.g, family members). These findings suggest a need for problem-gambling treatment services to tailor treatment for clients who present with such issues.

Also, on the 19th April, before the conference began, Dr. Parke and Dr. Roberts attended (by invitation) the “First North American Regional Meeting of the International Think Tank on Gambling Research, Policy and Practice” in Toronto (hosted by the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, AUT University and the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre). The ‘think tank’ focused on discussing the ‘Conceptual Framework of Harmful Gambling’ and how longitudinal research can inform the Framework.

On the 24th June, the FCRG will be hosting a conference on the issue of ‘Women and Problem-Gambling”. Click this link here for more details and a link to the registration page.