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Gaming, Gambling & the New Mobile Age


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Presenter: Julie Hynes, MA, CPS.
Four Directions: Tree of Healing Conference, October 2, 2013

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Gaming, Gambling & the New Mobile Age

  1. 1. Julie Hynes, MA, CPS Four Directions: Tree of Healing October 2, 2013 GAM ING
  2. 2.  Identify several recent trends and technological issues related to gambling and social gaming  Identify strategies for using technology and keeping youth safe  Share in your own settings
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  4. 4. Some content here could present as a “trigger.” If you feel yourself starting to be triggered, please feel free to excuse yourself or do whatever you need to do to feel safe.
  5. 5.  They both stimulate dopamine  People play for similar reasons (escape, relax, stimulate, etc.)  Disassociation  Potential for addiction?...
  6. 6. I work with assumption is that gambling is not innately “bad” or “good.” I don’t expect you to agree with this assumption. Most people who gamble are able to do so for entertainment without harm. A significant number, however, develop problems.
  7. 7. Photo:  Hynes
  8. 8. originally didn’t output money.   They output prizes  because gambling was illegal. 
  9. 9. Image source: eBay user duramax1989
  10. 10. Source: Oregon Health Authority  (2012; ibid)Photo source: Daniel Berman.
  11. 11. Week of September 24‐Oct 1; Source:
  12. 12. Source:
  13. 13. made it illegal to make interstate sports bets While this is technically legal today at licensed racetracks, the government has cited the act to prevent online sports betting services.
  14. 14. made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to allow money to be transferred to online casinos or gambling websites Fostered growth in third party (PayPal-esque) accounts for money transfers
  15. 15.  switched gears  gambling technically not illegal  up to the states to decide
  16. 16. Source: ABC News
  17. 17. individual states sometimes have very specific, restrictive laws about online gambling. Some states expressly prohibit online gambling by residents while others have no clear laws. States currently with legalized online gambling:  Nevada  New Jersey  Delaware
  18. 18. Something for everyone
  19. 19. Source:
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  21. 21. Source:
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  23. 23. Source:
  24. 24. Source:
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  26. 26. ?
  27. 27. “Internet Gaming Disorder” a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion in the main book as a formal disorder. Source:
  28. 28.  A sample of 1,178 youth in the U.S.: 8.5% of youth gamers were classified as “pathological gamers”  >80% play video games at least occasionally  “Pathological” gaming: (using 5 of 10 of DSM-IV; this was prior to DSM-5)
  29. 29. Some information we do have Source: Pediatrics, 2011 Feb; 127(2): e319‐29
  30. 30. Pathological gamers: Less empathy More impulsivity Reinforcing mental health issues Source: Pediatrics, 2011 Feb; 127(2): e319‐29
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  32. 32. 5.6% college age (18‐24) 2½ % all adults (18+) 4% teens (13‐17) This is the first generation of widely  available electronic gambling.  We really don’t know the effects yet. Why? Is it the generation? Technology? Or what?
  33. 33. brain
  34. 34. For more info: see article  “The Almost Winning Addiction” (The Economist, 2010) It’s really about the action, not the money! “ALMOST  WINNING”  causes  dopamine to  be activated  the same as  ACTUALLY  winning. Problem  gamblers are  more likely to  see their near  misses as  “NEAR WINS” People play  LONGER  when  machines  give them  NEAR  MISSES.
  35. 35. The PREFRONTAL CORTEX is the LAST PART to develop. years old! The brain is still developing until The PREFRONTAL CORTEX is responsible for higher level thinking, like decision making, holding attention, coping skills, controlling impulses, problem solving and planning. Starting unhealthy behaviors at young ages can mess up this development!
  36. 36. Neurotransmitter Serotonin Norepinephrine Opioids Dopamine Role in Relation to Gambling Behavior Initiation/Cessation Arousal, Excitement Pleasure, Urges Reward, Reinforcement Dopamine: most studied neurotransmitter in problem gambling  Serotonin --  risk taking Gambling -   β-endorphin PGs -   NE levels PGs -   dopamine response Neurotransmitter “PGs” = problem gamblers | Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that  transmit nerve impulses. Dopamine is known as the brain’s “reward system.”
  37. 37. Source: Brain Briefings (2007, October), Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC Dopamine Dopamine not released when expecting a loss. Flooded with dopamine when expecting a win! It’s not about the money – it’s about the action of the game and the  hope of winning.  
  38. 38. Sources: Tonneato, T. (1999). Cognitive psychopathology of problem gambling. Subst Use Misuse. Sep;34(11):1 Anecdotal reports from problem gamblers in treatment and recovery.
  39. 39. How are the following cognitive distortions more (or less) apparent with newer technology? Cognitive distortions.
  40. 40. Image source: Anheuser‐Busch COGNITIVE Distortions  Lucky #’s  Favorite shirt  “My” machine Superstition Rituals/habits that are believed to affect the outcome.
  41. 41. COGNITIVE Distortions  Example (win): “Yeah buddy! I was just waiting on my  card. I know this game inside and out.”  Example (loss): “I would’ve won if that idiot didn’t get  lucky and draw an ace.” Biased Evaluation Attributing wins to one’s special skill or luck, while losses are blamed on external circumstances.
  42. 42. Image source: Anheuser‐Busch Forgetting about losses, only remembering wins. COGNITIVE Distortions Selective Memory
  43. 43. COGNITIVE Distortions Failure to see each event as independent. Examples: • Trying to see patterns in coin flips. • “This slot machine is DUE to hit!” Gambler’s Fallacy
  44. 44. For good or bad, we are wired to see patterns in things. When it comes to gambling, it’s good to remember that. THIS was “supposed” to be next.
  45. 45. How are these cognitive distortions more (or less) apparent with newer technology? Reflecting:
  46. 46.  APPS: check them.  PASSWORDS: get them.  PRIVACY: all profiles.  CONTROLS: set them (yours, not just the device!)  CHECKS: spontaneously, do it.
  47. 47. • Keep computer  use in open area.  Consider restricting mobile browsing  hours or plan. • Monitor, monitor, monitor. • Sites – gambling, parties, “how‐to”  videos, etc. • Social media accounts.
  48. 48. Teens “care about their privacy (but) it’s not always the same kind of privacy that we as adults have. Teens are more concerned about privacy from their parents, their teachers, their schools.” – Amanda Lenhart (source:,  8/22/13)
  49. 49.  Check out the games/apps with your kids  Play with your kids or sit with them while they play. You will have fun and learn about their gaming, too.  Check the ratings of the games your kids want to play. In the U.S. and Canada, most games sold at retail stores are described and rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Use these ratings as you discuss the most appropriate games with your child or teen.
  50. 50. to your advantage. Communicate expectations. Remember about drinking/gambling. Zero.  xo Be home by 11. Have fun & text if you need a ride. Yep got it ok thanks mom Jordan 6:49PM 5:11PM
  51. 51.  Major mobile services (e.g., AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon) offer family protection plans  Features include: GPS, purchase blocking, turning off browsing/data/texting, time of day, etc.  See for a list of helpful links to these services Practicality alert:  Some features CANNOT be blocked when user  has access to WiFi (so…you may need to change your WiFi password often!)
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  53. 53. 541.682.3928 For more info & resources, visit julhynes1