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Risk factors for gambling problems specifically associated with sports betting
Studies examining risk factors for problem gambling amongst sports bettors have used screens that assess gambling problems in general. Because people experiencing gambling-related problems tend to gamble on multiple forms, it is unclear whether problems identified amongst sports bettors are due to sports betting itself. The present study examined a range of distal and proximal demographic, behavioural and psychological risk factors using a modified version of the Problem Gambling Severity Index which respondents answered only in relation to their sports betting. In general, those at risk were younger, spoke a language other than English, were more engaged sports bettors and gamblers, and tended not to watch the event they had bet on. They particularly endorsed money-oriented motivations, and had higher erroneous cognitions, gambling urges, and were more likely to experience alcohol issues. Higher-risk sports bettors were also more likely to apportion less responsibility for their gambling to themselves, and to have lower self control. A penalised model found that key predictors were money motivations, gambling urges and erroneous cognitions, alcohol issues and lower self-control, but not sports betting behaviour. These findings suggest that one's psychological relationship to sports betting is a primary driver of gambling-related problems, rather than just betting behaviour. As sports betting expands through new products and legalisation in additional jurisdictions, understanding who is most at risk from this form of gambling is important to inform legislation as well as harm reduction and treatment measures.