This week was quite busy since I attended three conferences in Stockholm in three days.
The first conference (Tuesday 27) was arranged by the Svenska Spel Research Fund. The fund is organized and financed by the state-owned gambling company Svenska Spel and offers funding for postgraduate research projects about gambling, in particular projects with a bearing on responsible gambling. Four ongoing project and one start-up were presented. Information about these projects will soon be available at the Svenska Spel website (probably here). David Hodgins from Canada talked about the role of significant others in the process of recovery from problem gambling; two Swedish researchers spoke about the use of animal models in problem gambling research. I participated in a panel discussion about what research that currently is lacking but would help in making well-informed policy decisions. A main point that I made in the discussion was that more research is needed on the economic behavior of gambling consumers. For instance, how does various levels of payback in games affect the extent of gambling and excessive gambling? Is the total consumption model valid for gambling across all its forms? A national plan for gambling policy would certainly be useful in identifying the areas of research that should be prioritized. A new structure for financing gambling research is needed.
The second conference was organized by RFMA (The national association against alcohol and drug addiction) and was essentially a repetition of a conference held in February, about problem gambling and its treatment. The target audience was people in social welfare services, therapists and others who in their work meet problem gamblers. As the conference in February was such a success and many people who heard about it wished they had attended, RFMA decided to repeat it. There were about one hundred people in the audience. I talked about the extent of gambling and problem gambling in Sweden and why people gamble. The presentations are available here.
On Thursday the Swedish Gambling Authority held a conference on gambling regulation with about 140 attendants – “Spelmarknadsansvaret 2012”. This was a very well organized event with many interesting presentations. Topics included reports from regulators in Denmark, Jersey and Alderney, social gaming, how to prevent match fixing in sport betting and illegal VLTs in Sweden. The program is available here.