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Dr. Michael Wohl | 2014 Speakers

Associate Professor, Carleton University

Ottawa, Canada

Dr. Michael Wohl is an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University. The majority of Dr. Wohl’s work has focused on erroneous cognitions, stress and coping responses, and craving as predictors of continued gambling behaviour. This work is conducted with an eye toward the facilitation of responsible gambling through education-based responsible gambling initiatives, pre-commitment strategies, and persuasive technologies.

Dr. Wohl has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers, is the associate editor of Basic and Applied Social Psychology, and is on the editorial board of three other academic journals. He is the recipient of Carleton University’s Research Achievement Award as well as Carleton University Students’ Association Teaching Excellence Award. In 2009, Dr. Wohl received an award from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to build a state-of-the-art casino laboratory.

When is Play-For-Fun Just Fun? Identifying factors that predict migration from social networking gaming to Internet gambling

Play-for-fun gambling-style applications (like those found on Facebook) are becoming ubiquitous online. Clinicians, researchers and legislators have raised concern that play-for-fun games might lure people to Internet gambling (i.e., play-for-pay), but the possible transition from play-for-fun to play-for-pay has received little attention. This presentation will describe the results from a qualitative study as well as two waves of longitudinal quantitative research that examined factors that attract people to play-for-fun games and the factors that drive migration to Internet gambling.

Results from the qualitative study suggest people play-for fun to learn how to gamble, to have fun and to socialize. They also seem to be aware that gambling sites use play-for-fun games to persuade them to play-for-play. The longitudinal study replicated these findings and found that being entertained/having fun was a stronger driver than learning how to gamble or to socialize. However, those who spend more time playing these games were more strongly associated with learning to gamble and were more likely to have purchased credits while playing for fun.

Research co-authored by Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky and Dr. Rina Gupta

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