Telescoping and Gender Differences in High-Risk Gambling: Loss Limit Behavior in a Population of Electronic Gaming Machine Players
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPsychology of Addictive Behaviors. 2022. 10.1037/adb0000844
Objective: Telescoping refers to the accelerated progression from starting a potentially addictive behavior to reaching a disordered level. For disordered gambling, telescoping has been reported for women compared to men. Most previous studies on telescoping have used clinical samples and retrospective reports, but this study examined a nonclinical population of gamblers using electronically tracked gambling behavior. Method: The sample consisted of Norsk Tipping’s Multix electronic gaming machine (EGM) customers during the period of March 2013–December 2018 (n = 184,113, 27.0% women, age range from 18 to 103 years, M = 41, SD = 16). We hypothesized that women would be older than men when first playing Multix and that the time between first playing Multix to reaching first loss limit (money one is allowed to lose) would be shorter for women compared to men. Results: Welch two-sample t tests revealed that women were older than men at Multix gambling onset (Women: M = 46, SD = 17; Men: M = 40, SD = 15; p < .001). Kaplan–Meier revealed a median survival time of 46 months, 95% CI [45, 47], for women and 55 months, 95% CI [54, 56], for men before the first loss limit. Cox regression showed higher risk for meeting the loss limit for women compared to men, HR = 1.22, 95% CI [1.20, 1.25], p < .001, when controlling for age. Conclusion: Prevention efforts should consider that adult women playing EGMs appear to be at risk for developing high-risk gambling faster than men.