Online gambling is on the rise, particularly following changes in regulations in the UK. It is easy to access and empowered by creative technology that makes the medium more engaging and immersive for users. Online gambling is available 24/7, enables rapid continuous play without breaks and provides limited gatekeeping to protect the most vulnerable. This means can often lead to gamblers losing control and chasing losses, impacting on not only the gamblers but also their families. As an example, the estimated costs to the UK are up to £1.2 billion per year from problem gambling.
However, those very features that make online gambling more engaging, simultaneously, have the potential to combat problem gambling. That is, the accessibility and persuasive techniques used in online gambling could be used as positive behavioural change mechanisms to mitigate against problematic behaviours. The online medium provides a unique chance to empower classical behaviour change as it offers interactivity, real-time response, traceability of usage data, intelligence, personalization and the ability to be context-aware.
At Bournemouth University we combine inter-disicplinary research across several projects that aim to reduce and prevent gambling related harms.