Representatives from the Fairer Gambling campaign attended the International Conference on Gambling Studies at the Nottingham Conference centre this month. The event brought together academics from around the world and offered a snapshot of the gambling theories currently being explored by the academic community. It turned out to be a very interesting experience for all that attended.
Much of the two days worth of discussions concentrated on the robustness of the projects being conducted, with academics critiquing the techniques of each other. It was eye-opening to see how these potentially policy influencing individuals interacted, and there were a number of ideas, hypothesises and statistics that provided good food for thought.
One disappointment was that none of the studies seemed to consider how retention rates relate to problem gambling. That is, if certain gambling content has a relatively high turnover and a relatively high percentage of retention of player funds, it follows that this content is more likely to be addictive than other content with relatively low turnover and/or relatively low percentage of retention of player funds.
Roulette on betting shop FOBTs is the best example of this addictive content. Near misses generate a similar level of reaction to winning in addicts, so it logically follows that machines can have very high retention rates and keep players coming back by creating the illusion of an ‘almost’ win by prolonging the spin visual after the result is determined. It’s an interesting phenomenon and one we certainly think the academics should be looking in to.
It has to be said that the standard of presentations varied greatly over the two days, but overall it was certainly a worthwhile trip.