Interactive Effects of Problem-Gambling Severity, Gender and Alcohol Consumption on Electronic Gaming Machine Behaviour

George Stuart, Nerilee Hing, Alex M.T. Russell

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Abstract

While comorbidity of problematic alcohol and gambling use is well established, much less is known about the way in which alcohol consumption while gambling interacts with problem-gambling severity and other individual differences. We hypothesised three factors that would interact with alcohol consumption while gambling on electronic gaming machines (EGMs) to influence four behavioural gambling measures: preferred number of lines bet, average duration of play, average spend per session and preferred electronic gaming machine denomination. The latter is a measure of gambler’s preference for the monetary denomination in which EGM bets are placed (e.g. 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, $1), with higher denomination EGMs being higher risk since bets can be placed in larger amounts and money can be lost more rapidly. The three hypothesised interacting factors were problem-gambling severity, presence/absence of alcohol use disorder and biological gender. A total of 1557 male and female participants completed a questionnaire, measuring their problem-gambling status, problem alcohol status, consumption of alcohol at the gambling venue, preferred EGM denomination, preferred number of lines bet, average duration of play and average spend per session. We found the anticipated gender-differential spending effect with males spending more than females, but we also found a surprising reverse differential spending effect for problem gamblers such that females spent more than males. We also found that alcohol consumption while gambling was generally associated with a preference for higher denomination machines and that those players without alcohol problems who drank at the venue preferred to bet on more lines, suggesting a double-max strategy amongst gamblers who drank at the venue. Finally, for non-problem and low-risk gamblers, concurrent alcohol consumption was related to preference for higher denomination EGMs in female players, but not for male players. These findings are discussed in the context of the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Sep 2022

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