Markers of unsustainable gambling for early detection of at-risk online gamblers

Abstract

In this work we propose novel markers for identifying at-risk gamblers based on the concept of sustainability. The first hypothesis here verified is that problematic gamblers oscillate between intervals of increasing wager size followed by rapid drops, probably because they exceed their economic sustainability limits. Due to the non-periodic nature of these fluctuations, the proposed marker detects a certain occurring feature, such as a rapid drop in wager size, over a wide range of fluctuation periods, drop sizes and shapes. The second marker, counting the number of games the gambler is involved in, aims at predicting possible consequences of an exceeding amount of time dedicated to gambling, that ultimately causes social and relational breakdowns. In the experimental phase we demonstrate how the adoption of these markers allows for identifying larger segments of high- and medium-risk gamblers with respect to previous research on actual betting behaviours.

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