Educating gamblers about responsible gambling (RG) practices (e.g. setting and adhering to a pre-set money limit) plays a central role in minimizing the harms associated with electronic gaming machine (EGM) play. However, little is known about when such educational information is best presented. Herein, using the principle of active learning, we tested the idea that players’ intentions to gamble responsibly will be heightened if RG educational information is provided in advance of (as opposed to following) a RG-related decision. To this end, a community sample of EGM players who were at a gaming venue (N = 98) were recruited to play an ostensibly real virtual reality slot machine and complete a survey prior to their planned gambling session. Participants were shown a RG-oriented educational animation just prior to initiating play or in advance of making a decision about whether to continue playing after their money limit was reached. As predicted, players who viewed the educational animation in advance of a RG-related decision about continuing play were more likely to express an intention to set a money limit in their upcoming gambling session at the gaming venue. Disordered gambling symptomatology moderated this effect—players low (compared to those high) in disordered gambling symptomatology expressed greater intention to set a money limit when the educational animation was viewed directly in advance of making a RG-related decision. Results suggest that learning RG actively (i.e. pairing RG education with its associated behavior, in vivo) can increase players’ intention to gamble responsibly.

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Addiction Research and Theory
Gambling Lab

Hollingshead, S.J. (Samantha J.), Amar, M. (Monique), Santesso, D. (Diane), & Wohl, M. (2018). When should players be taught to gamble responsibly? Timing of educational information upregulates responsible gambling intentions. Addiction Research and Theory. doi:10.1080/16066359.2018.1555818