Voluntary Self-Exclusion and Contingency Management for the Treatment of Problematic and Harmful Gambling in the UK: An Exploratory Study

Morgan B. Zolkwer, Simon Dymond, Bryan F. Singer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research into self-directed methods for reducing problematic and harmful gambling is still in its infancy. One strategy that individuals use to prevent gambling involves voluntary self-exclusion (VSE) programs. For example, VSE programs can make it challenging to access betting sites or enable banks to block gambling-related transactions. Although individual VSEs can be helpful when used alone, it is unclear whether their efficacy is enhanced when combined. Furthermore, it is unknown how VSE compliance can be improved. We propose that contingency management (CM), an evidence-based strategy to incentivise abstinence, could encourage continued VSE use, promoting long-lasting recovery from problematic or harmful gambling. Here, we conducted exploratory analyses on VSE use and CM for gambling in two populations (members of the UK general population recruited and students). Participants responded favourably regarding combined VSE use. They felt that providing vouchers exchangeable for goods/services could incentivise gambling abstinence during VSE. However, some were concerned about people potentially “gaming” the system. Participants believed supplementing VSE and CM with social support could encourage abstinence. These attitudes, and recent research on treatment providers’ opinions on CM for gambling, suggest that experimental evidence should be sought to determine the efficacy of combined VSE use and CM for gambling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2682
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

Other keywords

  • contingency management
  • gambling
  • voluntary self-exclusion

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