Implications of the Emerging Trends in Gambling

| June 22, 2017

Don Feeney & Julie Hynes / National Conference on Problem Gambling

July 21, 2017 – Portland, OR

Feeney & Hynes - Implications of Emerging Forms of Gambling - 2017 National Conference on Problem GamblingDon Feeney and Julie Hynes discussed emerging forms of gambling and their implications for a wide range of issues relating to problem gambling. How well do current gambling & problem gambling regulations, policy and programs meet the challenges posed by new forms of gambling such as skill-based gaming machines, fantasy sports, and e-sports?  Is state or national regulation even possible in a global market?  Is our definition of gambling now obsolete?  This presentation covered key features of these games and the unique challenges they present to public officials and regulators. Can free-to-play social casino games be used to teach people about gambling, or even as a harm reduction tool?  How to talk to kids about preoccupation in a world with professional video game players who spend enormous amounts of time and are perceived to be very successful?  And what we talk about today may be obsolete tomorrow as the pace of innovation, change and progress continue to increase exponentially.


A few key resources in the news on esports gambling and daily fantasy sports to watch/read and share:

How a 16-year-old gamer turned into a compulsive gambler  (ESPN, 1/20/17)
Virtual weapons are turning teen gamers into serious gamblers (Bloomberg, 4/20/16)

“The Fantasy Sports Gamble,“ (PBS FRONTLINE, 2/9/16)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Daily Fantasy Sports,” 11/15/15

Key Research & References:

(Additional references are directly linked in the slide deck above)

“Kids who play simulated gambling games more likely to become problem gamblers later in life” . (Australian Gambling Research Centre, April 2016)

Calado, F., Alexandre, J. & Griffiths, M.D. (2014). Mom, Dad it’s only a game! Perceived gambling and gaming behaviors among adolescents and young adults: An exploratory study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 12, 772-794. —

“Kids who play simulated gambling games more likely to become problem gamblers later in life” . (Australian Gambling Research Centre, April 2016)

Gainsbury, S.M. Hing, N., Delfabbro, P., Dewar, G., & King, D.L. (2015). An exploratory study of interrelationships between social casino gaming, gambling, and problem gambling. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 13, 136-153. —

Harris, A., & Griffiths, M.D. (2017, March). A critical review of the harm-minimisation tools available for electronic gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 33, 187-221.

Kim, H.S., Wohl, M, J.A., Salmon, M.M., Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. (2015). Do social casino gamers migrate to online gambling? An assessment of migration rate and potential predictors. . Journal of Gambling Studies, 31, 1819-1831. —

Electronic Gaming Addiction Resources:

From gamer in recovery, Cameron Adair

A Final Word:

Those who follow behavioral and public health fields will see the main concern is that of addiction. The National Council on Problem Gambling released a resolution on fantasy sports in October 2015. The statement lists that the Council “believes fantasy sports contest participants are at high risk to, and do, develop gambling problems.” It also calls on fantasy sports companies use the Council’s GRADE consumer protection guidelines, as well as talk about the risks of problem gambling as related to their contest offerings.

Some of the issues with gambling (and gaming) addiction involve:

  • Isolation
  • Preoccupation with the behavior
  • Needing to do it more often, and with increasing amounts
  • Lying or concealing behavior
  • Withdrawing from other activities
  • And others– check out a full list here.

If you know someone who might be obsessed with their fantasy games or exhibits other signs of a gambling problem,  know that there is help. In Oregon, the 24-hour helpline for gambling problems is 1-877-MY-LIMIT (online chat is available also at In other areas of the U.S., people can call or text the nationwide 24-hour helpline, 1-800-522-4700.

Category: Problem Gambling

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