My interest in gambling is broad, including regulation issues and problem gambling, but with a focus on the cultural roots of gambling and its social contexts. Here is a list of my research projects and interests since I started to study gambling in 2001.
None of my research has been funded by gambling companies or organizations with commercial interest in the gambling sector. All funding has come from government agencies and research/public benefit foundations.
Responding to and Reducing Gambling Problems Studies (Regaps) (2017 – 2022)
The Regaps program aims to offer analyses which foster the improvement of Swedish responses to problem gambling. The research consortium is also committed to fostering a critical perspective on epidemiology and treatment service studies. It will also contribute evidence which would point future policy toward greater social re-inclusion as well as more effective reduction of problems caused by gambling. Program coordinator: Jenny Cisneros Örnberg. Principal program members: Kristina Sundqvist, Eva Samuelsson, Peter Wennberg, Jukka Törrönen, Robin Room, Ludwig Kraus, Anne H. Berman, Ingeborg Rossow, Rachel Volberg and Per Binde. Many more people are involved in the sub-studies incorporated or associated with the program. At the moment, I work primarily on a study about problem gambling being the cause of the committment of crime. Regaps is based at the Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Stockholm.
Analyzing Swelogs data (2015-2017)
The Swedish Longitudinal Gambling Studies (Swelogs) is coordinated and financed by the Public Health Agency of Sweden. Wave four of the epidemiological (EP4) study had a sample of about 5.000 individuals, with a response rate of circa 50%. The survey includes a number of questions on gambling advertising and marketing. In collaboration with Ulla Romild, who is project manger for Swelogs and statistical expert. I will analyze and discuss the responses to these questions, in relation to selected demographic and other variables. Another topic that we will analyze is gambling participation and problem gambling in different occupational groups. We will use data from the most recent population study in Sweden (Swelogs 2015), which includes SSYK-codes (Swedish Standard Classification of Occupations) from the register of the population. Knowledge about which occupational groups that have an over-representation of heavy gamblers and problem gamblers is useful for prevention. I will also review the literature on selected issues, such as the conceptualization of gambling harm and the possible connection between RTP (Return-To-Player) and problem gambling.
- Article: Forms of gambling, gambling involvement and problem gambling: Evidence from a Swedish population survey
- Article (in press): Risk of problem gambling among occupational groups: A population and registry study
- Article (in preparation): High return to player percentage: A risk factor for problem gambling?
Problem gambling and economic crime in the workplace (2014-2015)
This exploratory study focused on embezzlement and similar crimes committed by problem gamblers in the workplace. Gambling-related employee embezzlement is a seldom-studied aspect of problem gambling that merits investigation because its harms can be particularly severe and long-lasting, affecting not only the gambler but also significant others, the employer, and society more generally. The problem gambler suffers from both economic and psychological distress – typically, gambling-driven embezzlement eventually leads to loss of employment, difficulties finding new work, and often a criminal sentence and incarceration. The study was financed by Public Health Agency of Sweden. It used multi-modal methodology, including an examination of newspaper articles, qualitative interviews with problem gamblers who have embezzled, interviews with professionals in crime and problem gambling prevention, and gathering of information from problem gambling counselors and therapists. (Press release in Swedish on the study.)
- Article: Preventing and responding to gambling-related harm and crime in the workplace
- Article: Gambling-related embezzlement in the workplace: A qualitative study
- Article: Gambling-related employee embezzlement: A study of Swedish newspaper reports
Gambling advertising: A critical research review (2013-2014)
This review critically examines research on gambling advertising and presents recommendations for future studies. The focus is on the feasibility of various kinds of studies. Methodological issues and the potential of research approaches to produce reliable and useful results are discussed. The review was commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Trust (today operating under the name GambleAware) in the UK and completed in early 2014.
Advancing theory on gambling cultures (2011-2013)
For the individual, gambling is a multifaceted activity with psychological, social, cultural and economic meanings and consequences. The integration of these into gambling cultures, with specific practices and discourses about gambling, is not well understood. Theory needs to be advanced that provides an inclusive understanding of the motivations to gamble and the dynamics of gambling cultures. Publications include:
- Article Gambling in Sweden: The cultural and socio-political context
- Article Why people gamble: A model with five motivational dimensions
- Book chapter Trotting territory: The cultural realm of Swedish horse betting
- Article Games of life and death: The judicial uses of dice in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Sweden
A Mutual Support Group for Young Problem Gamblers (2009-2010)
This is a study of a mutual support group for young problem gamblers (Syna korten) in Gothenburg, Sweden. The study is based on interviews and naturalistic observation of the weekly meeting of the group. Included in the study are also the primary and secondary preventive efforts, targeting students and young adults, which are linked to the mutual support group. The empirical part of the study was concluded in the summer of 2009. Research was funded by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (succeeded by the Public Health Agency of Sweden) and the Swedish Inheritance Fund. The results have been published in a book in Swedish (2010) and two articles in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.
- Book Syna korten: En insats mot spelproblem bland unga
- Article A Swedish mutual support society of problem gamblers
- Article A mutual support group for young problem gamblers
Working with the SWELOGS team (2008-2009)
The Swedish Longitudinal Gambling Studies (SWELOGS) are planned to include a series of national prevalence studies from 2008 to 2014. SWELOGS will also include in-depth studies of problem gamblers. This ambitious research venture is financed and coordinated by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (succeeded by the Public Health Agency of Sweden). Per Binde is currently member of the advisory group of SWELOGS and worked part time 2008-2009 with various research task in the SWELOGS team.
A review of social science research of gambling (2007)
The Swedish Longitudinal Gambling Studies (SWELOGS), conducted by the Public Health Agency of Sweden, will not only measure the extent of problem gambling, but aspire also to identify risk factors of problematic gambling. Taking a broad approach, social and cultural models of gambling involvement will be considered. Being part of the preparation for the analytical work of this second generation prevalence study, this research assignment amounts to a comprehensive review of social science and economic theories of gambling and a consideration of their relevance for this specific purpose.
Gambling advertising and problem gambling: An interview study (2005-2006)
In the public debate, it is often claimed that gambling advertising contributes to problem gambling. However, there is as yet little evidence supporting or refuting this opinion, making the influence of gambling advertising a relevant topic for research. The premise for this study was that problem gamblers can to some extent tell what influence gambling advertising has had on their problems. No other such study had previously been conducted in Sweden or elsewhere. The study is based on relatively long and exhaustive interviews with twenty-five individuals with present or past severe gambling problems. The investigation was conducted by Per Binde and financed by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (succeeded by the Public Health Agency of Sweden). The results are presented in a book in Swedish and in an article in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction:
- Spelreklam och spelberoende: En intervjustudie (2007)
- Gambling advertising and problem gambling: An interview study (2009)
Gambling advertising: A survey of the literature (2004-2005)
This study sums up and discusses the international academic literature on gambling advertising and related issues. Subjects that are covered include:
– The possible impact of gambling advertising on the extent of pathological and problem gambling.
– Has gambling advertising an effect on the extent of gambling in general or does it primarily affect the market shares of competing gambling products?
– The ethical issues with respect to gambling advertising.
– Messages and values in gambling advertising.
– The psychology of gambling advertising.
The survey was conducted by Per Binde and financed by the the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (succeeded by the Public Health Agency of Sweden). The results are presented in the following publications:
- in Swedish in the book Att sälja en dröm: Om spelreklam och dess påverkan (Selling Dreams: On the Effects of Gambling Advertising)
- in English in the article Selling dreams – causing nightmares? On gambling advertising and problem gambling
- in a chapter of the book Global Gambling: ‘You Could Become a Millionaire’: Truth, Deception, and Imagination in Gambling Advertising
The Symbolism and Morality of Gambling (2001-2003)
The research project “The Symbolism and Morality of Gambling: Anthropological Perspectives on Gambling in Contemporary Sweden” (2001-2003) was funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. The project was coordinated by Åsa Boholm, professor in social anthropology at the School of Global Studies, Göteborg, and most of the research activities were carried out by Per Binde. Fieldwork with participant observation was conducted mainly in 2002.
The project focused on mainstream gambling, as distinct from problem gambling. Gambling is viewed as a part of our culture. Gambling connects with notions of fate, the unknown, and transcendence of the everyday self; gambling creates social belonging and an is activity judged according to moralities derived from the dominating societal modes of reciprocity.
The publications from the project include the following articles that draw on the rich ethnography and theoretical insights of the project:
- Gambling, exchange systems, and moralities
- Gambling across cultures: Mapping world-wide distribution and learning from ethnographic comparison
- Gambling and religion: Histories of conflict and concord
- Spel i ett antropologiskt perspektiv
- The good, the bad and the unhappy: Cultural meanings of newspaper reporting on jackpot winners
- Trotting territory: The cultural realm of Swedish horse betting
- Why people gamble: A model with five motivational dimensions