Gambling and the impact of new and emerging technologies and associated products

Abstract

New technologies have the potential to place an electronic gaming terminal in everybody's pockets (as a mobile phone) and living rooms (as interactive television). The findings from the study suggest the impact of new technologies is unclear on whether this will create new markets of consumers, or cater to existing gamblers. The study also finds that people at risk of a gambling problem are more likely to use technology to make purchases, or use mobile phone technology. The technology offers ready access to the activity of interest, without the need to visit the gambling premises to pay for the product over the counter. Data suggests that impulse control is one of the factors predicting use of interactive services while alternatively the age of younger people is not a predictor for the use of gambling technology and interactive services. Of particular interest is the finding that prize shows, home shopping, reality television voting and {SMS} calculation services all appear to attract the interest of problem gamblers and those who have problems controlling their use of technology. It is also found that gamblers do not spend more time watching television, using the internet or listening to radio. Gamblers do, however, tend to be drawn more to programs where the outcome is uncertain (e.g. sports, race, reality television programs) and where there may be prizes. In undertaking a factor analysis on the survey data (to better understand what influences recreational technology use), four factors were found that could explain the use of the interactive services. These are: (1) a tendency to respond impulsively; (2) an interest in gambling; (3) pre-occupation with technology to entertain and (4) an interest in competitions. While new technology provides increased opportunity to gamble, there is also the potential for inducements or warnings that target specific individuals. Currently the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 makes it an offence to provide interactive gambling services such as casino games and electronic poker machine games to patrons in Australia.

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