A study of young people who are also pathological gamblers, surprise, turns up a connection to video games, in a report on Australia’s ABC News. Oh noes! Notably, however, another researcher knocks down the suggestion of a causal link.
“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. It does suggest that if you’re a person who is playing very frequently, more likely if you’re a male too, and doing it from you know year after year, it’s probably more likely you’ll have a pattern of activity which will make poker machines quite attractive when you turn 18.”
It never seems to occur to them that videogames are a hugely popular activity enjoyed by most teenagers, so there’s bound to be a correlation between games and most other activities. Correlation which is not, of course, the same as causation. But hey, videogames have been linked to all sorts of sin and vice, so what’s one more problem to throw on the pile? Alex Blaszczynski, a psychology professor at the University of Sydney, thinks otherwise.
“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.”
Good luck, Blaszcynski.