Perspectives Weekly 06/29/07 News Update


Dormant account
Jun 24, 2006
APCW Lunar Base
Weekly webcast for the online gaming industry. We grew BIG brass ones this week as we call the FBI and confront them on their online gaming stance. Plus, is internet gambling really as addictive as we've been led to believe? And what's going on with the WTO, the EU, and the Barney Frank Bill?

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Dormant account
Aug 16, 2006
Tropic of Cancer
Interesting one... the only piece I think you should watch out for is the citation Harvard gambling study which states that only %0.4 of sports bettors have a gambling problem.

The problem with citing a study that only deals with sports betting and then using this figure to dispute gambling addiction generally is that sports betting, by nature, is one of the least addictive forms of gambling. That is, sports bettors put bets down, then have to wait, sometimes weeks or months, for the big event. So, it removes a lot of the impusle factor that can get people into trouble. Also, sports betting doesn't have the predetermined losing odds that say table games do.

I do think that gambling addiction is serious and I think the % of folks that have done some serious damage to themselves is likely to be a lot higher than %0.4 when you look at table games. The dark underside of online gaming is that if a site gets some shmuck that's gambles away his house, the company and affiliates jump for joy becuase they just made a fortune. The names of the gambling addicts go right to the top of the marketing list. I think the bad karma is now coming back around and the industry should do a lot more than just put a link to gambler's anonymous on their sites to deal with this.

Anyway, the APCW does great work, so I don't want to see them acused of distorting an issue to make their case or start looking like the opponents of online gambling who thrive on distortions and half truths. The ommision of other forms of gambling from the citiation was pretty obvious.

Instead of minimizing the issue, perhaps contructive ways of dealing with it such as an industry agreement limiting the ammount of $ someone can wager (and lose) on certain games over a cetian period would be better or perhaps taking up a collection plate to help some folks that are losing their homes due to gambling loses, or certainly banning players industry wide that are struggling with addiction and who have sought help at GA (rather than bombarding them with invitations and bonus offers). I'm sure the GA would cooperate in creating lists and obtaining waivers for this purpose.

Any of those things would really show that the industry is serious about the dealing problem of gambling addiction.



Banned User - repetitive violations of <a href="ht
Jan 18, 2007
Excellent points, Rollo.
It's interesting to note that the AMA recently petitioned itself to include video game addiction in the DSM-IV and failed. A problem with this sort of criteria is the 'disease concept'.

Persistent and recurrent maladaptive gambling behavior as indicated by at least five of the following:

  1. is preoccupied with gambling (e.g., preoccupied with reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
  2. needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
  3. has repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
  4. is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  5. gambles as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression.
  6. after losing money gambling, often returns another day in order to get even ("chasing" one's losses)
  7. lies to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
  8. has committed illegal acts, such as forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement, in order to finance gambling
  9. has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling
  10. relies on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling

If this criteria were applied, I would bet :D that a larger percentage of players would be considered at risk in terms of mental health.
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Dormant account
Jun 24, 2006
APCW Lunar Base
Thanks for your comments.

The Harvard study was to point out that this industry is not as bad as the politicians make it out to me. It is less addicted than smoking and alcohol but gets more negative press. Limits are a great idea and should be implemented industry wide.

Gambling addiction is an issue and we have a responsibility to address it. That is why has begun to air gambling addiction PSA's from various organizations on our podcast and webcasts, first one aired on 06/29/07 Perspectives Weekly.


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001
The Bwin/Harvard study is unique in that it embraces a substantially larger number and percentage of players than has ever been done before (the nearest is probably eCOGRA's 11 000 response and focus group study) and that it was based on scientific analysis of actual playing patterns and frequency, requiring Bwin to open up their systems to the researchers.

Bwin is a principally sportsbetting oriented organisation although it does have online casino and poker elements, and this is the reason for the emphasis on sportsbettors. It's commitment to an obviously very expensive study of the phenomenon in a new way, and making its results public merits recognition i.m.o.

Most problem gambling experts that I have spoken to place the percentage of problem gamblers at somewhere between 1 and 3 percent, based on land gambling research statistics. Almost all have expressed an interest in whether online gambling results would be in line with this trend or significantly higher or lower.

The speculation is that it may be higher, given the more convenient access....but no-one seems to know for sure and probably won't until something definitive - perhaps using the Bwin methodology - can be studied and tested by a totally independent organisation of repute (like Harvard's addiction department, for example)

Until hard and unbiased numbers from such a project are available it is a matter of speculation and opinion as far as I can see.

To imply in general that online casino operators and affiliates are ogres who revel in sucking the life from unfortunates who suffer from a gambling addiction problem is Kyl-like pessimism that pushes the proposition way too far in my opinion.

There are many of the usually longer established and more professional sites out there where excluding the underaged and addictive is and has been for some time a genuine concern that has motivated the introduction of counter-measures that go beyond merely "put up a Gamcare logo."

There are many sites with pattern monitoring measures, self exclusion and betting limit facilities, marketing restrictions, basic self diagnosis assists, advice for dependents and strong links with the better problem gambling associations like Gamcare, G4 and GA, on occasion getting involved in joint projects.

Many operators have invested in specific training programs for managers and front line operational staff, and continue to do so with refresher courses. Some have problem gambling consultants on the payroll.

Significant investments have been made in supporting problem gambling organisations (and if you look at the latest RIGT developments in the UK you will find gambling groups generally receptive to upping contributions to meet the latest multi-million a year budget proposals)

Responsible operators practice responsible gaming for moral and well as practical reasons, contrary to what the sensationalist press portrays and politicians exploit to achieve bans.

But operators can only do so much in identifying and stopping problem with so many addictions, the real drive has to come from the unfortunate him or herself to quit.


Dormant account
Nov 29, 2004
bwin is completely aware of the fact that other products like casino have a higher potential of addiction than sports betting.
but as one of you already pointed out correctly, bwin is a sportsbook and poker focussed company (but poker has moved into bwin focus when the study was already ongoing) and that's why also the study is focussed on sports betting.

this does not mean that we do not take care about problematic gamblers in our other products like Casino - if I look out there in the casino "wild" I think we are one of the most responsible operators and I can assure that we deal very serious with people who play to much.
we do not want to build our business on the exploitation of our customers - we want them to have fun with the possibility to win.

our responsible gaming and corporate social responsibility departments are our internal watchdogs and they take their jobs very serious - believe me, they can be a pain in the ass of a casino and product manager, but on a long term this is not only good for our customers but also mandatory for our business in general.

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