Beyond illusion of control: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of gambling in the context of information technology

Abstract

The relationship between cognitive biases, such as illusion of control and problem gambling has been demonstrated in multiple studies. Recent explorative research has proposed that many individuals perceive that via application of information technology (IT), there is scope to influence gambling outcomes, to the extent of becoming consistently profitable. The objective of this study was to explore how the proposed concept of profitable, controlled gambling via IT is affecting how individuals understand and execute their gambling behaviour. This study used interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) and aimed to produce a detailed understanding of how the concept affects gambling motivation and experiences of seven adult, frequent gamblers. The IPA produced three super-ordinate themes accounting for the impact of IT on their gambling experiences: maturational developments, 'I've had my own epiphany' and 'There are much more lucrative and secure ways to make money with less effort'. Through evaluation of the emergent themes, it is proposed that the acknowledgement of the possibility of gambling in a controlled and profitable process via IT applications leads participants to an increased awareness of their gambling motivations and objectives. Essentially, participants become aware that their primary gambling motivation is not profit accumulation but rather entertainment. The implications of the emergent themes are discussed with particular reference to their relationship to responsible, and problem, gambling behaviour.

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