Fixed odds betting terminals and gambling related harm

Rogers, Jim (2020) Fixed odds betting terminals and gambling related harm. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

Rogers, James - Social Science- July 2020.pdf
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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


This thesis explores links between fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and ‘gambling related harm’(GRH). FOBTs are a particular type of electronic gambling machine (EGM) which was introduced in the UK in 1999. Gambling related harm is a term which relates to the adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and society.

The thesis brings together information from a variety of sources to provide a more comprehensive picture of harms which link to FOBT use. A mixed methods approach was used. The main primary research which generated new knowledge involved qualitative research with gamblers using ethnographic methods. This was complemented by a review of a wide range of sources of empirical data about the links between FOBTs and harm, and a consideration of government policy towards gambling machines since they were first introduced, including FOBTs over the past two decades. The focus of the study is on harms to individuals, although the wider impacts are also considered at a number of points throughout the study.

The theoretical framework provided by actor network theory (ANT) was used as a means of examining the interactions between individuals, gambling machines, gambling environments, the gambling industry and gambling regulators. This framework was also used to help make sense of how interactions between individual problem gamblers and mutual help groups (one of the most available forms of help for problem gamblers in the UK) can facilitate recovery from gambling related harm. The ANT perspective is also useful in illustrating how the widespread availability of FOBTs gained legitimacy at a certain period, which was then weakened as a result of increasing evidence of harm.
The thesis provides, for all stakeholders involved in gambling research and the development of gambling policy, a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of the harms which can result from FOBT use, how these might develop, and how they might be mitigated. In particular, the research highlights that key harms in relation to FOBT use include: violence towards machines and people; suicidal ideation; and debt. It shows that there is heterogeneity in the typology of machine gamblers. It also suggests that FOBT gambling is often a mid-point in a gambling 'career' which starts with machine gambling in childhood and ends with internet gambling. These findings provide lessons for the development of policy, research and treatment in relation to all forms of gambling.

The thesis also contributes to practice. It does this by providing knowledge to those involved in helping problem gamblers about a number of specific harms that are linked to use of FOBTs, and by showing the particular benefits of Gamblers Anonymous (and to a lesser degree other sources of help) in helping people recover from gambling related harms.

Finally, the thesis also makes a contribution to the academic literature by showing the application and relevance of actor network theory (ANT) for a study of machine gambling, in a more detailed manner than any previous studies of this nature.This example also suggests the usefulness of the approach for other studies of gambling. In the way that the study has melded a study of the evolution of policy with other sets of relevant data and applied ANT to the whole, this study makes a contribution by suggesting the utility of the ANT approach for policy studies.

Keywords:Gambling Related Harm, Fixed odds betting terminal, Gambling policy, Actor network theory, Gamblers Anonymous, Electronic Gambling Machine ( EGM)
Subjects:L Social studies > L410 UK Social Policy
L Social studies > L391 Sociology of Science and Technology
L Social studies > L431 Health Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:41550
Deposited On:24 Jul 2020 13:28

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