A record number of participants (ca. 330) attended the EASG gambling conference in Valletta, Malta, 11-14 September, 2018. This was the 12th conference organized by the European Association for the Study of Gambling; the conference is held every second year.
I have participated in all EASG conferences since the 5th, in Barcelona. At the previous conferences, I have got the impression that a specific topic is attracting much attention, or that a new trend in research or policy is emerging. But not this time. It might be that gambling studies has grown big enough, and accumulated knowledge enough, to withstand trendy fashions.
Researchers seem to be extending previous knowledge, looking in detail on various issues and filling in knowledge gaps. My own presentation was an example of that: a conceptual discussion with the conclusion that probably there is no strong causal link between high Return to Player (RTP) and problem gambling (PG). The possible relationship between RTP and PG is a difficult topic to study and analyze, but because some people nevertheless have opinions on this matter, I found it worthwhile to look closer at it.
Two observations from then conference:
- Player protection becomes more and more serious. For example, Norsk Tipping has introduced fixed spending limit for its customers (ca. 2000 euro per month). Several online gambling companies proactively contact customers who gamble excessively, informing them of the risks of gambling and suggesting setting limits.
- The overlap between gambling and gaming (e.g. loot boxes) is getting a fair deal of attention from researchers and regulators.
Conference presentations are available here
My presentation is available here: High return to player (RTP) percentage: A risk factor for problem gambling?