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Int J Ment Health Addict. 2018;16(1):136-149. doi: 10.1007/s11469-017-9816-1. Epub 2017 Nov 9.

A Pilot Evaluation of a Tutorial to Teach Clients and Clinicians About Gambling Game Design.

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1Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell Street, Toronto, M5S 2S1 Canada.
2Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada.
3Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
4Gambling Research Lab, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.
5Education and Training, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada.


This paper describes the pilot evaluation of an Internet-based intervention, designed to teach counselors and problem gamblers about how electronic gambling machines (EGMs) work. This study evaluated the tutorial using assessment tools, such as rating scales and test of knowledge about EGMs and random chance. The study results are based on a number of samples, including problem gambling counselors (n = 25) and problem gamblers (n = 26). The interactive tutorial was positively rated by both clients and counselors. In addition, we found a significant improvement in scores on a content test about EGM games for both clients and counselors. An analysis of the specific items suggests that the effects of the tutorial were mainly on those items that were most directly related to the content of the tutorial and did not always generalize to other items. This tutorial is available for use with clients and for education counselors. The data also suggest that the tutorial is equally effective in group settings and in individual settings. These results are promising and illustrate that the tool can be used to teach counselors and clients about game design. Furthermore, research is needed to evaluate its impact on gambling behavior.


Electronic gambling machines; Prevention; Problem gambling; Treatment; Tutorial

Conflict of interest statement

Compliance with Ethical StandardsThe project was subject to ethics review by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The project was reviewed by the CAMH ethics review board and approved as Protocol #055/2012. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments including informed consent and confidentiality of all personal information. The ideas expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Gambling Research Exchange Ontario, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, or the University of Toronto.The authors report no conflict of interest for this project. Nigel E. Turner, and Janine Robinson acknowledge that they have been funded by the Social Responsibility department of Ontario Lottery and Gaming to provide independent evaluation of some of OLG’s harm reduction initiatives. Kevin Harrigan, Peter Ferentzy and Farah Jindani report no conflicts of interest.

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