Title: Masthead
File: Masthead_V51
Title: Editorial: Covid-19 and its impact on gamblers, their families, and therapists.
Author: Nigel E. Turner
File: V51- Editorial
DOI: 10.4309/HIRR9255
Title: COVID-19 and the Suspension, Relapse and Continuation of Casino Gambling: Learning Theories at Work
Authors: Albino Roshan Thomson & Nandakumar Mekoth
Abstract: Casinos worldwide closed during COVID-19, forcing millions of gamblers to stop casino gambling temporarily or to migrate to online gambling platforms. Many returned to casino gambling once the casinos reopened. Using the qualitative method, this paper examines the return of gamblers to casinos through the lens of the learning theory of addiction. Addicted gamblers were forced to leave gambling owing to the closure of casinos. Though many gamblers found coping difficult, they saved money, experienced financial stability, and paid attention to family and work. Yet they became restless and returned when casinos reopened. Recovery was the main motive to return and continue gambling for those in heavy debt. Though gamblers were aware that regular gamblers never make money, they were happy to gamble again when casinos reopened and experienced satisfaction. This research supports learning theories, indicating that several social and psychological factors influence the suspension, relapse and continuation of gambling. Relapse and continuation are explained by operant conditioning, a system of rewards and punishments, and classical conditioning, which pairs the pleasure of activities with environmental cues leading to addiction. Based on qualitative interviews, this paper hypothesizes the reasons for the relapse and continuation of gambling through learning theories. The study established the significance of classical conditioning theory in explaining addictive behavior. While the results supported the role of reinforcement on adherence to gambling, no major shift to online gambling during lockdown was noticed. The paper also develops a testable model based on qualitative analysis of data.
Pages: 5-31
Keywords: Casino Gambling; Learning Theory of Addiction, COVID-19, Suspension, Relapse.
File: Thomson & Mekoth
DOI: 10.4309/SCUB3527
Title: The adaptation to COVID-19 by problem gambling and mental health treatment providers in Canada: a brief report.
Authors: Nigel E. Turner, Jing Shi, Branka Agic, Mark van der Maas, Sarah Agasee, & Tara Marie Watson
Abstract: Background: During the Covid-19 pandemic, online gambling venues remained accessible while treatment services were met with constraints. Mental health service providers needed to adapt quickly to continue supporting clients. This exploratory study examined the experiences of problem gambling counsellors and other treatment professionals who worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of (1) how they were impacted by the pandemic, (2) about how they adapted to the pandemic, and (3) their training needs in order to be better prepared for future pandemics. Method: Counsellors in Canada were surveyed using closed- and open-ended questions. The study was conducted in two waves, one in May to July 2021 in the middle of the pandemic, and the second from April to June 2022 as many public health restrictions were being removed and the casinos were being reopened. Results: The results indicated increases in counsellor distress during the pandemic. In addition, the counsellors also reported increased stress in their clients. The participants reported a shift towards phone and online treatment during the pandemic but also expressed a need for additional training on remote counselling methods. The counsellors reported concerns over technological issues, privacy issues and problems with keeping clients engaged. There were also concerns regarding populations who do may not have access to technology such as homeless people and seniors. Conclusions: There is a need for research to define best practices for remote methods of counselling.
Pages: 32-63
Keywords: Gambling, Canada, COVID-19, Mental Health
File:  Turner et al.
DOI: 10.4309/OMDY7521
Title: The two gambling closures during the CoViD-19 pandemic in Italy: the impact on affected family members of disordered gamblers
Authors: Gloria Passarella, Daniela Germoni, Alessandra Bassi, Silvia Cabrini, Fausta Fagnoni, & Maurizio Avanzi
Abstract: Globally there is a scarcity of literature related to affected family members (AFMs) of disordered gamblers as a group vulnerable to economic, relational and personal well-being-related damages, with physical and mental symptoms, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, there are no other articles in the world dedicated to the experiences of AFMs in the second lockdown. This study analysed the verbatims of 68 semi-structured interviews using a thematic analysis. The interview guide was composed of questions related to the quality of life, relationships and psychological reactions of disordered gamblers’ AFMs during two periods of substantial reduction in the possibility of land-based gambling, interspersed with four months of reopening. Our findings show that there has been an improvement in family relationships probably related to the impossibility of gambling and the activation of resilience processes. The main fear of AFMs concerned the time of reopening. The results that emerged in this study suggest to the health professionals and to politicians that environmental prevention due to external limitations that made gambling impossible or significantly reduced it, is an effective tool to limit its harmful economic, psychological and relational consequences as observed in AFMs of disordered gamblers. At the same time, the study suggests to health professional that AFMs need to be treated even after gambling behaviour has stopped, because suffering decreases but it persists.
Pages: 64-88
Keywords: Gambling, Affected Family Members, CoViD-19, Italy, Lockdown, Relational Consequences
File: Passarella et al.
DOI: 10.4309/XYCI4370
Title: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gamblers and their families in Italy: A systematic review
Authors: Daniela Capitanucci, Damiano Avanzi, & Maurizio Avanzi
Abstract: As one of the first countries to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the fourth ranked country in the world for money lost on gambling in 2019 (over €19 billion), Italy is a perfect observatory in which to study how the pandemic affected gambling behaviour. Pandemic-induced restrictions led to long periods of reduced opportunities for land-based gambling in 2020 and 2021. This impacted particularly slot machines, which are the most financially damaging type of gambling, that causes around 80% of cases of gambling disorder referred to the Italian Addiction Treatment Services. This systematic review describes the consequences of this involuntary public health measure for gamblers and their families. Most of the reviewed studies showed, in the investigated sample, no craving, an overall decrease in gambling behaviours, and little switching from land-based to online gambling during the lockdown. Affected family members appreciated the immediate effects of their relatives’ abstention from gambling, and a better family climate with better relationships resulted. But they remained concerned about the expected reopening at the end of the pandemic lockdown. These results show how effective such an approach would be if it were long-lasting and suggests that measures to limit the accessibility of gambling are crucial to reduce the harm it can cause for people and families.
Pages: 89-112
Keywords: Gambling, Italy, COVID-19, Lockdown, Online, Systematic Review.
File: Capitanucci et al.
DOI: 10.4309/OLTI3151
Title: Obituary: Peter Ferentzy (1959-2023)
Author: Nigel E. Turner
Abstract: N/A
Pages: 113-114
Keywords: Obituary, Peter Frentzy, Gamblers Anonymous, Addiction.
File: V51_JGI-Obituary
DOI: 10.4309/JIYR3328