Types of gambling and levels of harm: A UK study to assess severity of presentation in a treatment-seeking population


Background and Aim
Previous international research emphasized that some forms of gambling are more “addictive” than others. More recently, research has shown that we should shift our attention from the type of gambling activity to the level of involvement in a number of different gambling activities. The aim of our study was to verify whether a higher Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) score was associated with particular gambling activities and evaluate the impact of involvement on gambling behavior.

A total of 736 treatment-seeking individuals with gambling disorder were assessed at the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London. First, the independent two-sample t-test and the Mann–Whitney test were used to verify if the PGSI score changed significantly according to the gambling activity at a bivariate level. Second, we conducted a cluster analysis and finally, we fitted a linear regression model in order to verify if some variables are useful to predict gambling addiction severity.

The PGSI score was significantly higher for lower stakes gaming machine gamblers (1% significance level) and for fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) gamblers (5% significance level) at a bivariate level. Moreover, such finding was confirmed by cluster and linear regression analyses.

The results of this study indicated that gambling addiction severity was related to gambling involvement and, for a given level of gambling involvement, gambling addiction severity may vary according to gambling type, with a particularly significant increase for FOBT and gaming machine gambling.

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