Impaired control over gambling in gaming machine and off-course gamblers

John O'Connor, Mark Dickerson
Addiction 2003, 98 (1): 53-60

AIM: To investigate and compare subjectively reported impaired control in two forms of gambling: off-course Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) horse/dog racing and electronic gaming machines (EGMs). Additionally, gender differences in EGM play were investigated.

DESIGN: A survey sample of 84 male TAB gamblers and 137 EGM players (73 females and 64 males) was recruited at gambling sites.

SETTING: Hotels and clubs in Adelaide, South Australia, were used as recruiting venues. Interviews were either conducted on site if there was sufficient privacy, or relocated to nearby cafes.

PARTICIPANTS: The inclusion criteria were gambling at least weekly and being over the age of 18. Female off-course gamblers were not approached given their scarcity.

MEASUREMENTS: A general gambling involvement questionnaire was devised from pilot research. Impaired control was measured using a shortened version of The Scale of Gambling Choices.

FINDINGS: Impaired control over gambling has a robust factor structure, with little difference between EGM and TAB gamblers. Concurrent validity for the impaired control measure was demonstrated against measures of gambling involvement.

CONCLUSION: Impaired control appears to be, in the main, a generic process across these two forms of gambling and for both sexes. Further refinement and application of the concept of impaired control to excessive gambling seems warranted given its strong face, construct and concurrent validity.

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