Aussie Prof Connects a Lot of Dots Between Games and Gamblin'

A study of young people who are also pathological gamers, sooprise, turns up a connection to video games, in a report on Australia's ABC News. Notably, however, another researcher knocks down the suggestion of a causal link.

Paul Delfabbro of the University of Adelaide led a team studying more than 2,500 Australian teens, more than half of whom admitted to gambling in the past year. OK, fine. Delfabbro then brings out his broad brush.

If you look at those young people who are classified as pathological gamblers you will find that they do have a higher frequency of involvement with many different types of videogame. They're much more likely to play games on Xboxes and similar consoles. They are also more likely to play arcade games ... Those sort of young people who've had this need for more sort of unstructured activities probably also drift into gambling a bit more because it's another activity which you can do if you're out on the street.

This is, honestly, a serious question - are arcades in Australia as dead as they are in the U.S.? (It's 6:30 a.m. there, I'm not waking Luke up to ask that.) Because if so, it's an incredible - as in, not believable - assumption that arcades, practically made obsolete by consoles, play a role in conditioning or desensitizing young people to gambling in a casino.

If it seems like too easy a connection, don't worry, a guy with a diploma bigger than yours or mine thinks so too. Alex Blaszczynski, a psychology professor at the University of Sydney, more or less states what folks learn in Psych 101, or any form of science, really - correlation is not causation.

Does an interest in gambling lead to people becoming involved in video games or do video games lead to people becoming involved in gambling? Or is there a third factor which accounts for both gambling and videogames? There's also the possibility that some people with certain characteristics would then tend to engage in both video and technology type gaming activity and gambling as well. And that may well be linked to things like risk taking or impulsivity or other factors.

Does Video Game Play Lead to Gambling Addiction? [Game Politics]