Employees working in gambling venues spend time with gamblers on a daily basis, and are often considered as key elements in reducing gambling-related harm.
Responsible gambling training programs for employees generally aim to provide information about gambling-related problems and how to minimize them.
Employees working in gambling venues are considered as key elements.
This thesis comprises two papers. The first paper presents an overview of responsible gambling training programs offered around the world and examines the empirical evidence supporting their efficacy. The findings show that while many programs have been implemented, very few have been subjected to rigorous evaluation. The few existing studies suggest that these programs are effective in eliciting the desired attitudes, improving knowledge and skills, and changing employee behaviour. The second paper evaluates the impact of a training program on employee knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards video lottery players. A program called "Taking Risks is no Game-2" was developed to better inform video lottery employees about how to help gamblers in difficulty and where to find support resources.
A total of 826 employees completed a self-administered questionnaire before and after the training; 456 employees were re-evaluated eight months later. A behavioural evaluation was also carried out by a pseudo-client who visited 82 video lottery venues before and after the training. We observed that employees' attitudes regarding problem gamblers improved significantly after the training.
The results also showed changes in behaviour: the employees in the experimental group offered help more often to the pseudo-client after the training than before. Eight months later, results indicated that employees in the experimental group maintained a more positive attitude and some level of knowledge improvement. However, the behavioural changes were not maintained eight months following the training. The discussion includes recommendations for future research and the development of responsible gambling training programs.
Julie Dufour, Université Laval
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Deposit of the thesis: January 2010