Sally Melissa Gainsbury

Sally Melissa Gainsbury
The University of Sydney · School of Psychology, Gambling Treatment Clinic & Research Unit

PhD, Doc.Clin.Psych, BPsych

About

155
Publications
161,614
Reads
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5,412
Citations
Citations since 2016
49 Research Items
4309 Citations
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Introduction
I am an Associate Professor within the School of Psychology and Co- Director of the Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic in the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney. I am the Editor of International Gambling Studies and serve on the Editorial Boards of Psychology of Addictive Behavior and Gaming Law Review. My research focuses on understanding the psychology of gambling and other behavioural addictions, particularly related to emerging technologies including gaming. My research aims to develop and evaluate harm minimisation strategies to enhance well-being and minimise harms.
Additional affiliations
September 2017 - December 2018
The University of Sydney
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 2016 - present
The University of Sydney
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2010 - September 2016
Southern Cross University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Education
March 2005 - November 2010
The University of Sydney
Field of study
  • Clinical Psychology
March 2005 - November 2010
The University of Sydney
Field of study
  • Clinical Psychology

Publications

Publications (155)
Article
Full-text available
New technology is changing the nature of gambling with interactive modes of gambling becoming putatively associated with higher rates of problem gambling. This paper presents the first nationally representative data on the prevalence and correlates of problem gambling among Australian adults since 1999 and focuses on the impact of interactive gambl...
Book
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The full report can be downloaded at: http://www.gamblingresearch.org.au/resources/6482d5fa-f068-41e5-921f-facd4f10365e/interactive+gambling.pdf This research study was commissioned by Gambling Research Australia to investigate how Australians are using interactive gambling services and the impact of interactive gambling on land‐based gambling and...
Article
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Regulators have extensively used warning signs in many health domains to enhance knowledge and shift attitudes and behaviors to reduce associated harm. The effectiveness of these signs is influenced by their physical attributes and content. Gambling warning signs traditionally focus on the following: informing individuals of the potentially risky o...
Article
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One of the most significant changes to the gambling environment in the past 15 years has been the increased availability of Internet gambling Internet, including mobile, gambling is the fastest growing mode of gambling and is changing the way that gamblers engage with this activity. Due to the high level of accessibility, immersive interface, and e...
Article
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Restricting access to gambling products is one possible harm reduction strategy. We examined whether land-based gambling product supply restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted gambling problems and gambling engagement. In a three-wave, online, longitudinal study, 462 Australian adults (Mage = 44.94; 87% male) who gambled completed survey...
Article
A change in someone’s financial situation, such as a windfall gain or increased financial stress, can affect the way that they gamble. The aim of this paper was to explore the relationship between financial well-being and changes in gambling behaviour during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) shutdown. Australian past-year gamblers (N = 764; 85% male)...
Article
Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic reduced access to gambling and contributed to widespread psychological distress. Psychological distress is a known risk factor for problem gambling as it can motivate excessive gambling as a coping response. The availability of gambling is considered a factor in maintaining problems. This paper aimed to investigat...
Article
Rationale: Easy access to consumer credit products, such as credit cards, overdrafts, and personal loans, may facilitate gambling beyond affordable levels, which can result in debt problems. Debt and mental health problems are both potential motivators and core consequences of problem gambling. Debt stress (i.e., worry regarding ability to repay de...
Article
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Background: There is no consensus on how to best define recovery in gambling disorder. This minimizes clinicians’ abilities to apply optimal treatment goals and contributes to inconsistency in the use of outcome variables to evaluate interventions. Current understanding of recovery is largely based on professional opinion and theoretical models of...
Article
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Internet gambling has been widely legalised in recognition of its capacity to, and the importance of, providing consumer protection tools to prevent and minimise gambling-related harms. Most licensed Internet gambling sites are required to provide consumer protection tools, including activity statements, deposit limits, and time-outs (temporary sel...
Article
People experiencing problems with gambling may use consumer credit to cover expenses and/or continue gambling. This may contribute to debt problems and psychological distress, both of which may have pre-existed (and potentially motivated) their gambling. This review found little empirical investigation of patterns of consumer credit use by gamblers...
Article
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It is generally believed that there is an instrumental relationship between problem gambling and crime such that some gamblers resort to illegal activity to recoup financial shortfalls resulting from their gambling. However, a clear understanding of the risk factors for the commission of crimes beyond financial stresses is absent in the literature....
Article
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Cognitive distortions in gambling are irrational thoughts that cause an individual to overestimate their level of control over the outcome of the game and diminish the role of chance. Due to their strong relation to gambling disorders, they are a particularly important characteristic to assess and understand in gamblers. Although numerous measures...
Article
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The nature of the online environment makes it difficult for individuals to verify their safety and to identify latent risks in online activities. This limits website users' ability to take appropriate security precautions. Websites use various features and functions supported by computer‐based media technologies to communicate and interact with use...
Article
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Financial institutions have corporate social responsibility to assist customers in enhancing their financial well-being, and to make a positive contribution to society given the considerable role that they play in customers’ everyday lives. Financial institutions are involved in gambling through facilitating gambling transactions, including provisi...
Article
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Background Responsible gambling messages are widely used as a tool to enable informed choice and encourage appropriate gambling behavior. It is generally accepted that gamblers have different levels of risk of developing gambling problems and require various harm minimization tools and resources. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that responsib...
Article
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Experiencing negative outcomes online is increasingly common, with more people active online and the continued presence of aggressive online behaviours. This study sought to uncover the underlying factor structure of negative online consequences. It investigated how experiencing negative outcomes is associated with engaging in specific online activ...
Article
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The premise of this article is that an understanding of behavioural economics can inform and improve the effectiveness of gambling policies and practices. Existing interventions to minimise gambling-related harms appear to be ineffective. Many conceptual models of gambling consider the role of cognitive distortions in potentiating harmful gambling...
Article
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Most gambling studies have a gender-blind research approach, although a large body of scientific evidence suggests that gambling in females is on the rise and that males and females have different gambling behaviours and experience specific gambling-related harm. This study addressed these gender differences using a network analysis, an innovative...
Article
An important ongoing debate in the addiction field is whether certain technologymediated behaviors constitute tenable and independent constructs. This study investigated whether problematic technology-mediated behaviors could be conceptualized as a spectrum of related, yet distinct disorders (spectrum hypothesis), using the network approach that co...
Article
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Gambling is a heavily regulated activity, but policies are difficult to enforce in the online context. While governments may attempt to restrict access to licensed providers only, consumers can access offshore sites, creating a potential risk of harm and reducing taxation. This article examines how consumers select Internet gambling sites, and the...
Article
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This study describes an exploratory investigation of retrospective data related to the experiences and outcomes of individuals enrolled in a centralized multi-venue self-exclusion program for up to 24 months. The program was designed to offer convenient registration and to empower individuals to prevent their entry into multiple gambling venues or...
Article
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Erratum to: Multi-Venue Self-Exclusion for Gambling Disorders: A Retrospective Process Investigation Originally published in JGI Online First section, Issue 38, Month 2018 DOI:http://dx.doi.org/xxx-xxxx-xxThere were errors in several values listed in Figure 5 under the subheadings “Abstinent” and “Non-abstinent.” Further, the order of these subhead...
Article
This study describes an exploratory investigation of retrospective data related to the experiences and outcomes of individuals enrolled in a centralized multi-venue self-exclusion program for up to 24 months. The program was designed to offer convenient registration and to empower individuals to prevent their entry into multiple gambling venues or...
Article
Full-text available
Many jurisdictions have legalized and licensed online gambling sites. Nonetheless, a notable proportion of the online gambling market operates offshore. Offshore sites pose risks for consumers in terms of unsafe and disreputable practices, compete with domestically licensed sites and do not participate in the economies in which they operate. This s...
Article
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Esports bettors may represent an emerging cohort of gamblers. Concerns have been expressed about the vulnerability of these gamblers because of their young age and potential high engagement in Internet and game use. It is important to investigate whether esports bettors represent a cohort migrating to include other forms of gambling, or existing on...
Article
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The esports betting market remains predominantly unregulated, although regulated sites have begun offering options to wager on these types of events. Previously, esports has been considered a niche market sector with participants differing from traditional sports and race bettors. However, as esports increasingly becomes absorbed into mainstream ma...
Article
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Harm-minimization strategies reduce the experience of gambling-related harms for individuals and those close to them. Most policies and particularly discussions of tool design and implementation fail to involve end users and consider their concerns and needs. This study aimed to investigate the best way to introduce a harm-minimization tool for ele...
Article
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Understanding why some people experience problems with gambling whilst others are able to restrict gambling to recreational levels is still largely unexplained. One potential explanation is through salutogenesis, which is a health promotion approach of understanding factors which move people towards health rather than disease. An important aspect o...
Article
Traditionally disparate markets and products, gambling activities and games have begun to overlap in many ways, particularly in the online marketplace. Consumers appear to be moving between these activities, indicating perception of similarities in products. The hybrid nature of some activities has resulted in gambling regulators considering whethe...
Article
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Advances in Internet technology have substantially altered the characteristics of products offered by the gambling industry and associated effects on user experiences. Virtual reality gambling involves using an innovative 3D computer-based format with high-resolution graphics that totally immerses an individual into an interactive gambling environm...
Article
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Neuroscientific explanations of gambling disorder can help people make sense of their experiences and guide the development of psychosocial interventions. However, the societal perceptions and implications of these explanations are not always clear or helpful. Two workshops in 2013 and 2014 brought together multidisciplinary researchers aiming to i...
Article
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Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations often have high rates of addictive disorders, but lower rates of treatment seeking and completion than the mainstream population. A significant barrier to treatment is the lack of culturally relevant and appropriate treatment. A literature review was conducted to identify relevant literature...
Article
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Internet-based interventions have emerged as a new treatment and intervention modality for psychological disorders. Given their features of treatment flexibility, anonymity and confidentiality, this modality may be well suited in the management of addictive behaviours. A systematic literature review of the effectiveness and treatment outcomes of In...
Article
This study investigated co-morbidity of problem gambling and problematic Internet use (PIU) among adolescent Internet and land-based gamblers, with the classic approach using sum-scores of symptoms and a promising new method, namely the network perspective. This perspective allows testing for how multiple disorders are associated, showing symptoms...
Article
The increasing convergence of the gambling and gaming industries has raised questions about the extent to which social casino game play may influence gambling. This study aimed to examine the relationship between social casino gaming and gambling through an online survey of 521 adults who played social casino games in the previous 12 months. Most s...
Article
Background and aims Social casino games (SCGs) are not technically considered a form of gambling but they do enable players to spend money in a game that is gambling themed or structurally approximate to gambling. It has been theorized that SCGs could be a gateway to gambling activities or otherwise normalize the experience of gambling for young pe...
Article
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Problem gambling attracts considerable public stigma, with deleterious effects on mental health and use of healthcare services amongst those affected. However, no research has examined the extent of stigma towards problem gambling within the general population. This study aimed to examine the stigma-related dimensions of problem gambling as perceiv...
Article
Social casino gaming, which simulates gambling games on social platforms, has become increasingly popular and is rapidly merging with the gambling industry. Advertisements for social casino games, however, are not bound by the same regulations as real money gambling, despite their similarities. We performed a content analysis of a sample of 115 uni...
Article
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Background and aims Public stigma diminishes the health of stigmatized populations, so it is critical to understand how and why stigma occurs to inform stigma reduction measures. This study aimed to examine stigmatizing attitudes held toward people experiencing problem gambling, to examine whether specific elements co-occur to create this public st...
Article
Background and aims Social casino games (SCGs) feature gambling themes and are typically free to download and play with optional in-game purchases. Although few players spend money, this is sufficient to make them profitable for game developers. Little is known about the profile and motivations of paying players as compared to non-paying players. M...
Article
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Problem gambling attracts considerable public stigma and can cause significant self-stigma. However, little research has investigated the role of stigma during treatment-assisted recovery from problem gambling. This study aimed to examine gambling counsellors’ perspectives on whether and how the stigma associated with problem gambling influences pr...
Article
Advertisements for gambling products have historically been restricted due to their potential to normalize gambling and contribute to excessive gambling behaviours among vulnerable populations. However, social media enables gambling operators to promote products and brands with fewer constraints than in traditional forms of media. This study invest...
Article
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Professional gamblers are more likely than amateur gamblers to meet criteria for problem gambling but minimal research has examined their gambling behavior and its consequences. This study compared gambling behavior, problem gambling symptoms, related harms, recognition, and help-seeking among problem semi/professional gamblers (PPGs/PSPGs) and pro...
Article
Although high rates of problem gambling have been identified among Internet gamblers, most studies have failed to identify the relative contribution of multiple forms of gambling as opposed to the exclusive participation in online forms. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in mental health status in exclusive online, exclusive land...
Article
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Concerns exist that Internet gambling may increase rates of gambling harms, yet research to date has found inconsistent results. Internet gamblers are a heterogeneous group and considering this population as a whole may miss important differences between gamblers. The differential relationship of using mobile and other devices for gambling online h...
Article
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Digital advertising for gambling and specifically marketing via social media have increased in recent years, and the impact on vulnerable consumers, including moderate-risk and problem gamblers, is unknown. Social media promotions often fall outside of advertising restrictions and codes of conduct and may have an inequitable effect on susceptible g...
Article
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Background and Aims Gambling and gaming activities have become increasingly recognised as sharing many common features at a structural and aesthetic level. Both have also been implicated as contributing to harm through excessive involvement. Despite this, relatively little attention has been given to the fundamental characteristics that differentia...
Article
The overlap of gaming and gambling activities within online digital technologies is of growing relevance to the study of technological addictions. Social casino games are immensely popular ‘free to play’ games that offer realistic emulation of financial gambling activities. Their structural similarities might suggest that engagement in social casin...
Conference Paper
Abstract Stigma associated with problem gambling was examined in this paper from counsellors’ views. Using qualitative methods, structured telephone interviews were conducted with nine gambling counsellors in Victoria, Australia. Counsellors identified self-stigma experienced by problem gamblers as shame, embarrassment and reduced self-esteem. They...
Article
Full-text available
Minimal research has investigated the stigma associated with problem gambling, despite its major hindrance to help-seeking and recovery. This study explored perceived and self-stigma to examine stigmatising beliefs held, how they may be internalised, coping mechanisms, and effects on help-seeking. In-depth interviews with 44 people experiencing gam...
Article
While gambling has traditionally been viewed as an adult activity, there is a growing body of research that a significant number of adolescents are not only gambling but are experiencing gambling related problems. As ease of access via Internet wagering has increased, so too have some of the concomitant problems. Social casino gambling, often thoug...
Article
Full-text available
Social media has become an established tool to engage and maintain customer loyalty. However, its successful use involves a balance between promotion, public relations, and corporate social responsibility. Nineteen individuals working in the Australian gambling industry were interviewed. The aim was to explore how gambling operators are using socia...
Article
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Dynamic warning messages are a harm minimisation strategy aimed at preventing or reducing gambling-related problems by assisting individuals to make informed choices about their gambling. Laboratory studies have demonstrated the efficacy of dynamic warnings in facilitating responsible gambling. This paper presents the results of a trial of the rela...
Article
Full-text available
Concerns that Internet gambling has elevated the prevalence of problem gambling have not been substantiated; however, evidence suggests a subgroup of Internet gamblers do experience higher rates of gambling harms. Greater overall involvement in gambling appears to be predictive of harms. The purpose of this study was to examine differences between...
Article
Full-text available
Interactive gambling as a regulated activity, coupled with easy accessibility to offshore providers represents a new mode and format of gambling superimposed on traditional land-based opportunities. This paper aimed to investigate the prevalence of gambling among Australian adults and the relationship between various gambling activities and interac...
Article
Full-text available
Online wagering is increasing in popularity as it is easily accessible through websites which market these services widely. However, few studies have examined online betting based on actual behavioural data. This paper describes the results of an analysis of 2,522,299 bets placed with an Australian online wagering operator over a 1-year period. The...
Article
Full-text available
Optimal content for warning messages to enhance consumer decision making and reduce problem gambling. Abstract Warning messages for electronic gaming machines (EGMs) have been mandated to increase consumers' ability to make informed rational decisions and reduce excessive gambling consumption. However existing warnings have limited effectiveness. T...
Article
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The expansion of simulated ‘free-to-play’ gambling-themed activities on social media sites such as Facebook is a topic of growing research interest, with some conjecture that these activities may enable, or otherwise be associated with, gambling and problem gambling. This paper describes findings from an in-depth qualitative study which aimed to ex...
Article
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https://www.psychology.org.au/inpsych/2015/october/gainsbury/
Article
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Problem gambling represents a significant public health problem, however, research on effective gambling harm-minimisation measures lags behind other fields, including other addictive disorders. In recognition of the need for consistency between international jurisdictions and the importance of basing policy on empirical evidence, international con...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Previous studies of problem Internet gamblers have failed to distinguish whether their problem gambling relates to Internet or land-based gambling modes. Therefore, characteristics and help-seeking behaviours of people whose gambling problems relate specifically to Internet gambling are unknown, but could inform the optimal alignment of...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last few years playing social casino games has become a popular entertainment activity. Social casino games are offered via social media platforms and mobile apps and resemble gambling activities. However, social casino games are not classified as gambling as they can be played for free, outcomes may not be determined by chance, and player...