Between two worlds: Exploring esports betting in relation to problem gambling, gaming, and mental health problems

Loredana Marchica, Jérémie Richard, Devin Mills, William Ivoska, Jeffrey Derevensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and aims: Esports betting is an emerging gambling activity where individuals place bets on an organized video gaming competition. It represents only one of several gambling activities commonly endorsed by adolescents. To date, limited research has explored the relationship between esports betting and mental health among adolescents and its convergence with both problem gambling (PG) and problem video gaming (PVG). The present study examined the relation between esports betting, PG and PVG, and both externalizing and internalizing problems among adolescents while accounting for adolescents' video gaming intensity (i.e., how often they play 2 h or more in a day) and engagement in other gambling activities. Methods: Data was collected from 6,810 adolescents in Wood County, Ohio schools. A subset of 1,348 adolescents (M age = 14.67 years, SD = 1.73, 64% male) who had gambled and played video games during the past year were included in the analyses. Results: Approximately 20% (n = 263) of the included sample had bet on esports during the past year. Esports betting was positively correlated with other forms of gambling, both PG and PVG, and externalizing behaviors. Mediation analyses revealed esports betting was associated to both internalizing and externalizing problems through PVG and not PG. Conclusions: Esports betting may be particularly appealing to adolescents who are enthusiastic video gamers. As such, regulators must be vigilant to ensure codes of best practices are applied to esports betting operators specifically for underaged individuals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • adolescence
  • esports betting
  • problem gambling
  • problem video gaming

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