Study: Video Games lead to Gambling?

Can problems with video game addiction lead to other gaming addictions? According to a recent study looking at Australian youth, it can.

An article on BASIS Online looks at the study, which examined the correlation between video game play over the past year with a screening instrument that looks at pathological gambling markers. Participants in the study, a total of 2,669, were 12-17 years old and pulled from four major metropolitan schools in South Australia.

Video game involvement "measures included frequency of play, number of hours played, and type of game played, including: TV games (e.g., Xbox, Nintendo, Playstation); phone-based games; hand-held games (e.g., Nintendo, Gameboy); PC games; and arcade games." Pathological Gambling (PG) was assessed using 12 yes/no questions that looked at past and present behavior. With the answers to these questions allowed researchers to put the student into three groups: Not At Risk, At-Risk and PG. The results of the PG were then correlated with frequency and type of video game play.

The conclusion:

The results indicated significant associations between various types of video-gaming and gambling-related problems. However, the effect sizes were very small; this suggests that frequent video-game playing accounts for only a small part of the relationship between video game playing and gambling-related problems among adolescents. The inconsistency within the results (e.g., PC games were protective of PG, but hand-held games did not show a difference between no risk and at risk) suggests that other factors might better explain the association between video games and gambling-related problems. Future research should consider exploring additional factors (e.g., social/family influences, personality, beliefs etc.) that extend beyond frequency of playing video games that may explain why some adolescents experience gambling-related problems.

The article mentioned several limitations on the study and provides a chart that breaks down gambling groups in relation to frequency of video game play in the past year.

Legitimate concern or grasping at straws? I’m honestly not sure.

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  1. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    I wouldn’t even call it grasping at straws.  They flat-out say that it doesn’t fit the data very well and there are probably other, more important factors at work.  It’s more like they’re flicking the straws away.

  2. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    I have deduced a study that links aging to gambling.  Based on this research, as soon as test subjects reach the age of 21 there seems to be an unusually large spike in gambling activity among a large portion of those tested, many of whom later develop an addiction to the act.  Based on our findings, it appears that the results indicated significant associations between aging and gambling related problems.  From these findings, we suggest parents to limit a child’s aging when possible.  Further research should consider looking at other potential factors outside of aging that may explain why some people develop gambling problems.


    Man, I think I’ve gotten a hang of this research thing.  Start with a conclusion, and then find facts that fit it!  I can’t wait till I get paid for this. 

  3. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    Alert the media!  Call the White House!  It’s official – addicts tend to become addicted to stuff!  Oh, the humanity!

    What is this – ‘Study the Bleeding Obvious’ Day?

  4. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    "Looking at Australian youth" Theres your problem right there. Austalian "leaders" trying to, once again, justify their bias against games. Pathetic.

  5. 0
    -Jes- says:

    I play a MASSIVE amount of games, I do not have ADD, I don’t have a criminal record, I have never gone on a killing rampage, and I don’t gamble.



    Guess I don’t fit any of the "games r bad, mmkay?" studies. But who’d have thunk that, what with them being flawed, unscientific attempts at proving a point?!

  6. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    Yeah, "they" (as in anti-gaming advocates) have been switching over to this argument for the last couple of months.

    Grasping at straws as always, in my opinion. Gaming creates about as many gamblers as it creates killers, drug-addicts or alcoholics.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  7. 0
    Vinzent says:

    Grasping at straws.

    All they’ve determined is that a person who can easily become addicted can switch that addiction from videogames to gambling, and perhaps vice versa.

  8. 0
    vellocet says:

    I do like to gamble and I love to game.  However, I don’t think of the two as the same thing.  There isn’t the same element of "luck" in gaming vs gambling.  Although you could argue that say… blackjack is a game, there is only so much skill you can have to nullify the luck factor.  However, is say an FPS, the most skilled player is usually the one who wins.  Not to say there isn’t luck in an FPS, it just doesn’t factor in as much as it doesn’t in blackjack.

    I consider gaming and gambling to be two completely unrelated experiences.  To say that videogames are a "gateway drug" to gambling is ignorant psychobabble spouted by people who have no idea what they’re talking about.


  9. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    This sounds intellectually dishonest, mainly because they seem to be using the DSM-IV criteria for their ‘pathological gambling markers’.

    According to DSM-IV, Pathological gambling is now defined as separate from a manic episode. Only when the gambling occurs independent of other impulsive, mood, or thought disorders is it considered its own diagnosis. In order to be diagnosed, an indiviudal must have at least 3 of the following symptoms:

    1. Preoccupation. The subject has frequent thoughts about gambling experiences, whether past, future, or fantasy.
    2. Tolerance. As with drug tolerance, the subject requires larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same "rush".
    3. Withdrawal. Restlessness or irritability associated with attempts to cease or reduce gambling.
    4. Escape. The subject gambles to improve mood or escape problems.
    5. Chasing. The subject tries to win back gambling losses with more gambling.
    6. Lying. The subject tries to hide the extent of his or her gambling by lying to family, friends, or therapists.
    7. Loss of control. The person has unsuccessfully attempted to reduce gambling.
    8. Illegal acts. The person has broken the law in order to obtain gambling money or recover gambling losses. This may include acts of theft, embezzlement, fraud, or forgery.
    9. Risked significant relationship. The person gambles despite risking or losing a relationship, job, or other significant opportunity.
    10. Bailout. The person turns to family, friends, or another third party for financial assistance as a result of gambling.

    As with many disorders, the DSM-IV definition of pathological gambling is widely accepted and used as a basis for research and clinical practice internationally.


    Preoccupation:  Like thinking about how you’re going to beat a boss in, say, FF VII, or how you’re going to survive that firefight you’re stuck on in Operation Flashpoint, Dragon Rising.  By the way, people can be preoccupied with all kinds of experiences.  Go talk to someone who mountain climbs at indoor facilities, and they’ll talk up and down about doing a certain wall in a certain time.

    Tolerance:  Generally, I find a lot of people play the same amount of games most of the time, barring things like vacations and sick days.  When I’m sick, I sit in my basement, turn on the big screen TV, and, between napping, play the hell out of my old SNES and my 360.  It’s not because I ‘need’ more gaming to satisfy me, it’s because I have little else to do.

    Withdrawal: You see this so rarely with gamers.  You can see this quite frequently with people who have a legitimate gambling problem, where they become irritable when you try to take them away from the table they’re playing at or the machine(s) they’re running.  OH, WAIT!  That pisses off people who don’t have a gambling problem too!  Have you ever had someone harass you in the middle of a hand of poker or blackjack or a round of craps?  It pisses you off, because you need to concentrate.  It’s the same thing that happens when you harass someone when they’re trying to navigate or find an exit.  Now, when people become visibly unwell when denied the stimulus of gambling or gaming, then yes, you may have a legitimate concern.

    Escape: the subject gambles to improve mood or escape problems.  No FUCKING WAY! Gambling for fun?  That’s crazy talk.  Most people wouldn’t be gambling if it wasn’t at least a bit fun.  As for escaping problems, that’s not an act that is only applicable to gambling.  I know people who play the piano to escape their problems, is that bad?  

    Chasing: are you kidding me?  I see this every time I go to a casino.  I have a sneaking suspsicion that this is more an inborn part of human stupidity.  People figure that they can win their money back, and then they’ll stop.  That’s not really an addictive behavior, that’s just being stupid.  Chances are, when you’re down, you’re not going to come back up like that.

    Lying: you know why else people might lie about gambling losses?  Because they don’t want to hear ‘I told you so’, or worry their spouse, or bear the shame of having lost a sizable amount of money to a casino.

    The last three are fairly valid,  but the first few are broad as all hell.


    So, basically, they ran an ‘experiment’ in which they compared the incidence of these ‘markers’ to the amount of time peopel spent playing video games.  Except, when you consider how broad most of these are, that seems like a bad comparison.  Of course, using the SOGS seems like a bad idea as well, but whatever.

    In short: this study seems useless.

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