Addiction to Games: an Online Tracking Tool

Games sites collect enough information about their users to identify risk profiles and set up a prevention system, a French team demonstrates.

A person plays on a Belgian site of slot machine while this gambling is prohibited in France out of casinos for reason of addiction.

A person plays on a Belgian site of slot machine while this gambling is prohibited in France out of casinos for reason of addiction.

“Playing involves risks: indebtedness, isolation, dependency.To help, call 09 74 75 13 13” . This is the message posted in One of the site “Web Bet” of the French games, and Bwin, two leaders in the sports betting market in France and very busy during Euro 2016. The warning broadcast, nothing n forcing these sites to identify their users who have or who develop a dependency: they can continue to solicit them commercially and encourage them to continue their practice of gambling. However, “the data of the accounts of the players are very precise and could be enough to identify risk profiles ,  says Amandine Luquiens, addictologist  at the hospital Paul-Brousse de Villejuif(Inserm) in a statement. Using player data from a poker site, she has developed a tool for online tracking of risky gambling behavior, which could apply to other types of online sites.

18% of players “at risk” on the analyzed poker site

To develop this computer system, Amandine Luquiens, with his colleagues, first identify on this poker site users whose playing practice was considered medically “problematic”. “We sent an email to the 170,063 people registered on the site, inviting them to describe their gambling behavior through a scientifically validated medical questionnaire, containing nine questions”. Questions such as: Do you bet more than you could afford to lose? Do you need to increase the amount of your bets to keep the same fun to play? Have you ever borrowed money to play? The researchers ranked the players according to their potential dependency: among them,likely. Next, the scientists exploited the database of the poker site. It should be noted that in France, gambling and online betting sites are placed under the authority of the ARJEL (Regulatory Authority for Online Gaming) which issues a license to operators on the condition that they fulfill a set of legal requirements, including the requirement to collect gaming data – including financial movements. Operators therefore have a database provided. Thanks to that of the poker site, the researchers have managed to develop an algorithm that allows very accurate retrieval of addictive players from personal data from the site.

The addiction is not correlated to the amount spent “

In developing this algorithm, they established several factors that can cause addiction to the game visit addicting gamez, including being a man, being under 28, depositing money upon registration on the site, losing on average more than 1.7 euro per session, and participate in more than 60 parts per month. ” All these factors taken together make it possible to identify people whose gambling behavior is problematic with a sensitivity of 80%, ” says Amandine Luquiens. Contrary to what one might think, the question of the amount of bets was not particularly discriminating:“The addiction is not correlated to the amount spent, and only a third of people with gambling problems find themselves in financial difficulty.” In reality, it is mainly the temporal invasion of gambling. the daily that illustrates the addiction, especially in the field of poker, “ says the researcher. It hopes that its tool for online identification of risky behavior will be approved and used by ARJEL. “The latter could inform the players in difficulty and offer them support without them having to make any move, ” she suggests. Through, for example, “targeted awareness emails or online moderation from screened players”. Although this tool seems intrusive, it could protect dependent people and promote the use of care, often late.