Gambling accessibility: A scale to measure gambler preferences

Abstract

Geographic closeness of gambling venues is not the only aspect of accessibility likely to affect gambling frequency. Perceived accessibility of gambling venues may include other features such as convenience (e.g., opening hours) or "atmosphere". The aim of the current study was to develop a multidimensional measure of gamblers' perceptions of accessibility, and present evidence for its reliability and validity. We surveyed 303 gamblers with 43 items developed to measure different dimensions of accessibility. Factor analysis of the items produced a two factor solution. The first, Social Accessibility related to the level at which gambling venues were enjoyed because they were social places, provided varying entertainment options and had a pleasant atmosphere. The second factor, Accessible Retreat related to the degree to which venues were enjoyed because they were geographically and temporally available and provided a familiar and anonymous retreat with few interruptions or distractions. Both factors, developed as reliable subscales of the new Gambling Access Scale, demonstrated construct validity through their correlations with other gambling-related measures. Social Accessibility was moderately related to gambling frequency and amount spent, but not to problem gambling, while, as hypothesised, Accessible Retreat was associated with stronger urges to gamble and gambling problems.

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