Does Video Game Play Lead to Gambling Addiction?

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide has linked regular video game play to gambling addiction.

Australia’s ABC News reports on comments by Paul Delfabbro of the University’s school of psychology. Delfabbro’s team studied more than 2,500 Australian teens and found that more than half admitted to gambling within the preceding 12 months. Delfabbro commented on his findings:

If you look at those young people who are classified as pathological gamblers you will find that they do have a higher frequency of involvement with many different types of videogame. They’re much more likely to play games on Xboxes and similar consoles. They are also more likely to play arcade games…


Some young people who don’t have a lot of structured activities in their life… what they’ll often do is spend very large amounts of time playing videogames or often be more likely to be the ones who go off to street venues to play arcade games.

Those sort of young people who’ve had this need for more sort of unstructured activities probably also drift into gambling a bit more because it’s another activity which you can do if you’re out on the street.

However, University of Sydney psychology professor Alex Blaszczynski said that the evidence gathered by Delfabbro does not support a causal link between video game play and compulsive gambling:

Does an interest in gambling lead to people becoming involved in video games or do video games lead to people becoming involved in gambling? Or is there a third factor which accounts for both gambling and videogames?

There’s also the possibility that some people with certain characteristics would then tend to engage in both video and technology type gaming activity and gambling as well. And that may well be linked to things like risk taking or impulsivity or other factors.

The University of Adelaide research will appear in next month’s Journal of Gambling Studies.

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  1. 0
    Velkrin says:

    …young people who are classified as pathological gamblers…

    ...they’ll often do is spend very large amounts of time playing videogames or often be more likely to be the ones who go off to street venues to play arcade games…

    ZOMG! A corelation between young people and people who play video games!  Next up, a corelation between babies and an inability to fight off bears.

  2. 0
    BearDogg-X says:

    Another BS study for the pile.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

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  3. 0
    GrimCW says:

    i’ve played for as long as i’ve been alive since my dad had the atari when i was still young.

    and i’ve even been to vegas and blown 2 grand.. but it wasn’t gambling :)

    gambling i spent maybe 75 bux total counting the winnings spent back.

    i don’t find gambling much fun unless its for shits and giggles (like just playing for chips, or food scraps on the table top like smartasses)

    but key in cash and i’m outta the game all the time, thats mah game money right there! :)

    the 2k was from a place called the "Library" and hanging out there every other night with squad mates for about 2 months while we played war games with the air force :p

  4. 0
    cart00nstrip says:

     Well I, for one, have been playing video games as often as I can ever since the advent of the Atari when I was around 7 or 8. While I have on occasion played poker for pennies, it was never for more than the camaraderie of a wager. There are many risks I am willing to take for the right circumstance – reaching into a fire pit barehanded to save a toddler from 3rd degree burns is a risk worth taking. Wagering my hard-earned cash for the possibility of riches? Not so much. If being willing to pay for entertainment was a direct pre-cursor to gambling, well, wouldn’t that mean that ALL of us are at risk? Oh, wait…

  5. 0
    Brokenscope says:

    Pathological gambling and pathalogical gaming run on the same things.

    Risk vs Reward

    Casinos started buying the games that were designed to give the greatest percieved rewards for the greatest possible risk.

    They also payed for games that were designed positivly reinforce you putting money in the slot.



  6. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    Oh but remember! First there was video games, then there was gambling! We wouldn’t have casinos if arcades didn’t come first…oh wait…

    Try again guys. Relating games to gambling’s nothing new. New York had a ban on pinball from the Prohibition into the 80’s because casinos once used similar machines. The style of pinball, noawadays, comes from manufacturers trying to put more skill and less luck into playing. Video games followed suit.

  7. 0
    SimonBob says:

    Being in a gang is a structured activity, right?  Let’s get all these teens out of those totally random arcades and casinos and into the friendly social environs of a mafia family!

    Seriously though, what I took from this report is that Australia still has thriving arcades.  If it weren’t for their backwards classification system, I’d move down there and invest a few quarters.

    The Mammon Philosophy

  8. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    They’ve just been getting desperate to make video games into thise boogeyman, making videos games the cause of any number of mental and physical problems.

  9. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Sorry, but there’s some reasearch that makes me stop and think that they might, at least, be looking in the right direction, and then there’s stuff like this.

    That’s like saying that Soccer is a cause of Soccer violence, it’s only right if you completely ignore the personalities of the people involved, and you really want to blame soccer for something. Everyone likes risk, and that’s what computer games, board games and all other games are based on, but it’s the people who cannot control themselves who end up addicted to the risk, and that’s a question of the person involved, not the format the risk takes.

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