We’re interested firstly in the psychology
of gambling games where we are particularly
interested in modern slot machines; and secondly,
we’re looking to understand the risk factors
for gambling addiction because this is something
that causes some people
a great deal of harm and distress.
Problem gambling has been recognized as a
disorder since 1980, but the harms of gambling
arise from two sources: they arise from some
risk factors at the level of the person, but
they also arise from the games themselves,
and the way in which the games interact with
that person’s decision making.
Now current theories of problem gambling really
emphasize those risk factors at the level
of the person, and we need to understand that
two-way process of how the games themselves
shape gambling addiction.
One of the things that we’re starting to
understand in the current research is that
problem gamblers are not one uniform group
– there are lots of different types of problem
gamblers – and there are different routes
Particularly, are there certain features that
put people at risk of machine gambling through
this ability to capture their attention and
immerse them in this machine zone?
Could that be quite different from that excitement,
the thrill-seeking, that we see in sports
betters, or in casino table games?
And so we’re moving away from sort of one-size-fits-all
approach to thinking about different kinds
of gamblers and ways of treating those gamblers
with different modalities.