Wood, Robert

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    Designing a Longitudinal Cohort Study of Gambling in Alberta: Rationale, Methods, and Challenges
    (Springer, 2008-12) el-Guebaly, Nady; Casey, David M.; Hodgins, David C.; Smith, Garry J.; Williams, Robert J.; Schopflocher, Donald Peter; Wood, Robert T.
    Longitudinal research on the determinants of gambling behavior is sparse. This article briefly reviews the previous seventeen longitudinally designed studies, focusing on the methodology for each study. This is followed by a description of our ongoing longitudinal study entitled the Leisure, Lifestyle, & Lifecycle Project (LLLP). Participants for the LLLP were recruited from four locations in Alberta, Canada, including both rural and urban populations. In the LLLP most participants were recruited using random digit dialing (RDD), with 1808 participants from 5 age cohorts at baseline: 13-15, 18-20, 23-25, 43-45, and 63-65. Individuals completed telephone, computer, and face-to-face surveys at baseline, with the data collection occurring between February and October, 2006. At baseline, a wide variety of constructs were measured, including gambling behavior, substance use, psychopathology, intelligence, family environment, and internalizing and externalizing problems. Finally, the conclusions that can be drawn thus far are discussed as well as the plans for three future data collections.
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    The Proportion of Ontario Gambling Revenue Derived From Problem Gamblers
    (University of Toronto Press, 2007-09) Williams, Robert J.; Wood, Robert T.
    The proportion of gambling revenue derived from problem gamblers is an important issue when considering the appropriateness of government-sponsored gambling. Figures obtained from prior research are tentative due to methodological problems and the mismatch between reported expenditures and actual gambling revenue. Using improved methods for assessing the prevalence of problem gambling and self-reported gambling expenditures, the present study estimates that the 4.8% of problem gamblers in Ontario in 2003 accounted for approximately 36% of Ontario gambling revenue. This proportion varied as a function of game type, with a lower proportion for lotteries, instant win tickets, bingo, and raffles and a higher proportion for horse racing and slot machines. Key Words: gambling, problem gambling, government, Ontario, OLG
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    ‘How Much Money Do You Spend on Gambling?’ The Comparative Validity of Question Wordings Used to Assess Gambling Expenditure
    (Routledge, 2007-02) Wood, Robert T.; Williams, Robert J.
    Gambling expenditure is a commonly asked question in jurisdiction-wide surveys of gambling behaviour and in surveys of household spending. However, the validity of self-reported gambling expenditure is questionable due to the fact that these expenditures usually do not match up with actual gambling revenue. The present study asked about past month gambling expenditure, in 12 different ways, to a random sample of 2424 Ontario adult gamblers. The relative validity of each question format was subsequently established by the correspondence of reported gambling expenditures with actual Ontario gambling revenue, as well as with amounts obtained by prospective diaries. Slight variations in question wording resulted in significant variation in reported expenditure amounts. However, certain question wordings elicited amounts closer to actual revenues and are therefore recommended for use in future surveys.
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    Internet Gambling: Prevalence, Patterns, Problems, and Policy Options
    (Final Report prepared for the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre; Guelph, Ontario, 2009-01-05) Wood, Robert T.; Williams, Robert J.
    Beginning in the early to mid-1990s, as Internet access expanded into workplaces and private residences, gamblers in Western societies were introduced to a new realm of gambling opportunities, based on the Internet. Each of the traditional forms of gambling, widely available in land-based venues, soon appeared in electronic format over the Internet, and have since been easily accessible to any person with an Internet connection and means of electronically transferring money. Virtually mediated casino games, slot machines, bingos, lotteries, sports wagering, horse race betting, and skill games are all now readily accessible, with new forms of gambling and new ways of remote gambling (e.g., interactive television) continually being added. While Internet gambling is becoming a more socially acceptable and legally available activity, the expansion of Internet gambling is outpacing peoples' understanding of the phenomenon, as well as outpacing many of the laws that are supposed to regulate gambling activity. Consequently, we find ourselves in a situation where we have insufficient knowledge of online gambling, including the characteristics of gamblers, the dynamics of Internet gambling behavior, the potential link between Internet gambling and problem gambling, and the most appropriate regulatory and legislative stance to take with respect to Internet gambling. In light of persisting ambiguities and gaps in the existing academic and policy literature, the present report comprises one of the most thorough academic examinations of Internet gamblers to date. The first part of the report provides a context for the present investigation by providing a comprehensive review of the history of Internet gambling, the current worldwide situation, regulatory frameworks for Internet gambling in different jurisdictions, and concerns with Internet gambling. The second part of the report discusses results from two surveys. The first survey is a random digit dial (RDD) Telephone Survey of 8,498 Canadian adults conducted from January 2006 to June 2007 ('Canadian Telephone Survey'). The second survey is an online self-administered survey of 12,521 adults, from 105 countries, conducted from June to December 2007 ('International Online Survey'). These surveys collected information about people‟s demographic characteristics, land-based gambling behaviour, Internet gambling behaviour, stock market gambling, attitudes toward gambling, motivations for gambling on the Internet, gambling fallacies, and problem gambling as assessed by the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI). The International Online Survey also served as an intervention, as participants were provided with detailed feedback about their gambling behaviour relative to others, a projection of their yearly expenditures, explanations of why certain beliefs they held were gambling fallacies, their risk for becoming a problem gambler, their current score on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI), Internet links to treatment resources, and a demonstration of how their predictive ability for random events is no better than chance, and how there is no relationship between their prediction confidence and prediction success.
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    Problem Gambling on the Internet: Implications for Internet Gambling Policy in North America
    (Sage, 2007-06) Wood, Robert T.; Williams, Robert J.
    Internet gambling is legal in many jurisdictions around the world, and observers predict that it is simply a matter of time before various North American governments, in Canada and the USA, take steps towards legalizing and regulating Internet gambling opportunities. Indeed, the proportion of North America gamblers who choose to gamble on the Internet is increasing at a dramatic rate. Unfortunately, however, relatively little is known about the characteristics of these individuals, or their propensity for problem gambling. Past studies predict that Internet gamblers are especially at risk for developing gambling problems, and that a substantial proportion of them already can be properly classified as problem or pathological gamblers. The present study investigates this issue using data collected from an Internet-based survey administered to 1920 American, Canadian, and International Internet gamblers. Confirming predictions of a relationship between Internet gambling and problem gambling, we find that 42.7% of the Internet gamblers in our sample can be classified as problem gamblers. In light of our findings, and bearing in mind recommendations made by other gambling researchers, we conclude with a discussion of issues and cautions for governments to heed when crafting Internet gambling policies.