A communication perspective on Video Lottery Terminals

Abstract

Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) are associated with pathological gambling and with most of the requests for help in combating gambling addiction. Embeddedness of a person in his or her social network is among the communicational factors that may help explain this phenomenon. To verify this, we compared ego networks of VLT gamblers, of gamblers of games with low request for help and of VLT gamblers in treatment (n = 90). The networks of regular VLT gamblers are small and dense and offer little social support. Gamblers in treatment also have small networks, but they are less dense, have more components and offer more social support. Networks of gamblers with low requests for assistance are approximately twice the size as those of VLT gamblers, are sparser and offer more companionship. In conclusion, the VLT gambler is not an isolated individual, but rather an individual "shut-in" a small network of tightly knitted relationships.

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