A study conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide has linked regular video game play to gambling addiction.
Australia's ABC News reports on comments by Paul Delfabbro of the University's school of psychology. Delfabbro's team studied more than 2,500 Australian teens and found that more than half admitted to gambling within the preceding 12 months. Delfabbro commented on his findings:
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...
Some young people who don't have a lot of structured activities in their life... what they'll often do is spend very large amounts of time playing videogames or often be more likely to be the ones who go off to street venues 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.
However, University of Sydney psychology professor Alex Blaszczynski said that the evidence gathered by Delfabbro does not support a causal link between video game play and compulsive gambling:
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.
The University of Adelaide research will appear in next month's Journal of Gambling Studies.