Studies Slot Design
This year’s conference also featured keynote speaker Dr. Luke Clark who presented on his recent research at the UBC Centre for Gambling Research. Clark spoke about whether specific design features of slot machines, or the certain “bells and whistles” used to make a game a fun experience, trigger neurological markers of problem gambling. He argued individual ingredients of a slot have to be studied further, including the speed of game, presence of near misses and losses disguised as a win. Clark says with more research, there’s potential for game companies to create a fun game that isn’t addictive, and for regulators to determine if specific features of a game should be more tightly regulated.
Drawing on leading research from both local and global perspectives, the conference attracted an impressive line-up of thought-leaders and industry experts, in addition to a diverse audience of researchers, industry representatives, prevention specialists, and treatment specialists.
A total of 25 guest speakers presented on a variety of topics, including University of Sydney’s Sally Gainsbury, who presented on keeping up with changes in social media and technology to protect young people from being exposed to gambling. UCLA’s Dr. Tim Fong presented on his studies regarding the prevalence of problem gambling in Asian communities in the U.S., and the fact that cultural stigma with addictions, cultural barriers to treatment and cultural acceptance of gambling has created a hidden social ill. Another popular presenter was McGill’s Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, who, with his expertise in Daily Fantasy Sports, is calling on governments to recognize DFS as a form of gambling, and for DFS companies to implement responsible gambling measures similar to BCLC’s.
Preliminary feedback indicates attendees were greatly impressed with the 2017 conference and are marking New Horizons as a must-attend event for 2018 and the years to come.
Sarah Morris is Communications Officer, Media and Issues Management, for BCLC. For more information on the New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference, visit HorizonsRG.com and follow @BCLC on Twitter.