Finnish researchers will test a nasal spray to prevent the risk of gambling addiction, while French researchers have developed a computer system identifying people at risk.
The spray first. It contains naloxone, an emergency opioid overdose treatment that works by blocking the action of opiates (heroin, morphine, opium). This substance is given under these circumstances, either intravenously or by nasal spray: indeed the nose is highly vascularized which allows the rapid penetration of the substance into the blood. Gambling addiction is an addiction based on mechanisms similar to those found in opioid addictions. The attitude of the player can be impulsive and the hopes of the researchers is to be able to calm this impulse thanks to the spray whose action is very fast. The study should last 3 months; it will include 130 players, half will receive a placebo, the other the active product. This is the first study of its kind.
Spot players in difficulty
Another innovation could also significantly reduce the number of gambling addicts. Researchers at Paris Sud University have developed a computer system that can identify players at risk of dependence. And all thanks to an algorithm. As the scientists explain, "gambling and online gambling sites broadcast prevention messages to players, but nothing obliges them to identify those who have or develop an addiction by visiting the site (...) they can continue to solicit them commercially ". And the team of researchers assures, the data collected by online gaming sites could "be enough to identify players in difficulty."
An unprecedented predictive model
To develop this system, the scientists gathered each player's account data and created a screening tool. The system was developed in two steps: "The first was to identify players whose playing practice was considered medically problematic, the second to establish an algorithm able to find these same profiles. In addition, 170,063 people registered on sites were interviewed. Of these, 18% were likely addicted. With this, we have built and validated a predictive model, which can identify people whose gambling behavior is problematic, "said in a statement Amandine Luquiens, who led this work. A small revolution, therefore, that could help fight addiction.
Addiction is not correlated to the amount spent
Researchers have identified a number of factors that can lead to addiction to gambling: being under 28, depositing a sum of money upon registration, or playing more than 60 games a month. And surprisingly, "the addiction is not correlated to the amount spent. Moreover, only a third of people with a gambling problem find themselves facing financial difficulties, recalls Amandine Luquiens. In reality, it is especially the temporal invasion of the game in the everyday that illustrates the addiction, especially in the field of poker. "