Kindred and leading researchers have for years worked in tandem to develop an approach that can accurately identify harmful gambling behaviour. We have explored various scientific methods over the years and are now confident that we have found a suitable one to use for PS-EDS.
To validate the method, we have created a research paper which has been thoroughly reviewed by external and unbiased experts in the research community. Below we present a summarised literature review on which we base our method on.
Self-exclusion has been used as a proxy measure for problematic gambling in various studies (e.g., Percy, et al., 2016; Braverman & Shaffer, 2012; Haefeli, et al., 2011; LaBrie & Shaffer, 2011). Using self-exclusion as a proxy measure for harmful gambling, especially in the online gambling environment, may not always be the most suitable measurement (Griffiths & Auer, 2016). Therefore, as part of being transparent, we are including customers who self-disclosed that they have a problem with their gambling, in addition to the usual proxy measure for harmful gambling (self-exclusion) which is the more common practice.
Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)
In most research and diagnostic papers, the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) is used. This is a nine-item scale which is widely used to measure the gambling problem severity in the general population (Currie, Hodgins & Casey, 2013). This scale is known for having high internal reliability and good item-response characteristics (Orford et al., 2009).
The PGSI defines four player types being the non-problem, low-risk, moderate-risk, and problem players. This classification is achieved through the following nine items:
- Have you ever bet more than you could really afford to lose?
- Have you needed to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling of excitement?
- Have you gone back another day to try to win back the money you lost?
- Have you borrowed money or sold anything to get money to gamble?
- Have you felt that you might have a problem with gambling?
- Have you felt people criticised you betting or told you that you had a gambling problem, regardless of whether you thought it was true?
- Have you felt guilty about the way you gamble, or what happens when you gamble?
- Has your gambling caused you any health problems, including a feeling of stress or anxiety?
- Has your gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?
For each question, the player is given the following options to answer: Never, Sometimes, Most of the Time, and Always. Depending on the answer the player gives, there is a score attained to each answer: Never is equal to 0, Sometimes is equal to 1, Most of the Time is equal to 2 and Always gives a score of 3.
Depending on the final score that the player would achieve from answering these questions, this would correspond to the following classifications depending on the final score achieved: (i) social player (score 0), (ii) low-risk player (1-2), (iii) moderate-risk player (3-7), and (iv) high-risk player (8 or more). According to the PGSI, these classifications may be further interpreted through the following probably life consequences:
- Social player corresponds with someone who would have not experienced any problems in the last year.
- Low-risk player corresponds with someone who would have experienced one or two minor problems related to their gambling.
- Moderate-risk player would be experiencing some problem related to their gambling.
- High-risk player would be a person whose gambling may be dependent and is experiencing a substantial level of gambling related problems.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM 5)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM 5) is also a diagnostic criteria documentation which is based on similar criteria as the PGSI mentioned above. According to the DSM 5, if an individual exhibits any four or more of the following criteria:
- Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.
- Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
- Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
- Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g. having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping, or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
- Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g. helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
- After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
- Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
- Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
- Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling
Combining the principles of PGSI and DSM 5
By combining principles from the PGSI and DSM 5, PS-EDS not only takes into account financial criteria but also behavioural indicators allowing us to better detect harmful gambling in the online environment.