Dr. Catania is the safer gambling consultant at SG:Certified. She has been exposed to various markets in search of gambling-related risks, with most statistics being tied to the online gambling industry, which has made habits much easier to track.
Prior to the popularity of online gambling, the challenge in research stemmed from the lack of reliable, finely thorough info, restricting the ability to intricately understand the correlations between a player's actions and their complete exposure to risk.
Easier With the Internet!
Thanks to modernization, experts finally got a clearer picture of what is actually happening and answers to questions about the causes and effects of disordered gambling. The field is beginning to formulate and experiment with data-derived predictions regarding the position of players within the risk continuum. It is even conceivable that they could gain insights into which games or game formats carry higher inherent risks compared to others.
Dr. Catania draws attention to a study she had the opportunity to take part in, which investigated markets and gambling-related harms through several categories. Starting with poker, the document under consideration bears the title “Behavioral Indicators of Harm and Their Prospective Role in Recognizing Product Hazards in Online Gambling.” It was initiated by Kindred Group in 2022, encompassing an analysis of a group of 100,000 of their customers from the United Kingdom over a span of six months. At the time of the study, Catania was Kindered's Head of Responsible Gaming.
The purpose of the research was to explore whether certain products are more strongly associated with the established behavioral markers of harm than others.
Indicators that have been revealed through prior investigations encompass are:
– Bonus-seeking behavior
– Playing at unusual hours
– In-session deposits
– Easing RG settings
– Declined deposits
The study showed that these markers align with gambling time, revealing varying correlated risk levels among different game categories.
“All markers apart from easing/removing responsible gambling settings appeared to correlate with the number of active days engaging in specific product types, most notably slots, in-playing betting and some most forms of combination bets on sports,” the experts explained.
“These findings highlight the potential value of using measurable markers to differentiate the risk and potential harm associated with different online products.”
The data suggests slots, in-play betting, and certain forms of combination sports bets are associated with higher risk. Notably, poker displayed a lower risk profile due to its skill-based nature. However, the study emphasizes the need to monitor focus and maintain a balanced approach to playing poker.
Watch out for the Tetris Effect!
Poker can easily become more than just a hobby or job – it can turn into an unhealthy obsession. This isn't unique to poker; video games, social media, TV shows, and even regular jobs can also absorb too much of our attention when we should be focusing on other things. Behavioral experts have a term for this kind of unconscious preoccupation: the Tetris Effect.
Back when early video games like Tetris became popular in the 1980s, some players started hearing and seeing the game in their thoughts and dreams. For some, Tetris took over their minds. They kept playing it mentally, even when they weren't physically playing.
Similarly, this is how online poker can affect players. Determining when this preoccupation becomes a problem in games like Tetris or poker is tricky, however. This is commonly seen in in poker, where the skill element and the unique qualities of the game can make it seem like investing a lot of time is just striving for perfection.
So, What is the Conclusion?
Any form of entertainment is entertainment until it crosses the line, so please set boundaries that you will not cross. You don't want the fun to become a problem. Take care of yourself and play safe!
Source: ”The markers of gambling-related harm in poker and beyond”. iGaming Business. August 10, 2023.
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