Today I interviewed a researcher in the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, Prof. Karen Finlay. Finlay described to me a major problem that everyone is aware of, at the government level and of course the public level too. This problem is occurring where ever a casino, racetrack or racino (racetrack with casino counterparts) is present. And even though the public and government leaders are aware of its detrimental impacts on people’s well-being, there still seems to be an overall lack of action, accountability and responsibility for this problem. Given that it pumps massive amounts of capital into the government’s pocket, its understandable as to why there has not been a major motion towards attempting to solve this problem.
This problem is gambling. Considering Ontario casino’s are being uncooperative with Finlay’s pertinent research, she conducts her studies in a lab located in the city of Guelph. The lab gives Finlay more control over the variables in her studies, in order to represent a casino setting she presents various stimuli that one would experience in a casino such as odours, sounds and lights. These allow Finlay and her team to observe the environmental cues that can influence us, as human-beings, to gamble and continue to gamble. She is also focusing on the ways in which the casino environment itself is conducive to increasing our gambling behaviour. She spoke of how the architectural design of a casino can do anything from making you feel like you’re trapped, and making you feel like you must continue to gamble, or even worse, certain designs can make you feel comfortable or more at home which could increase your likelihood to gamble making you feel comfortable with yourself all the while. This research is extremely important to Ontarian’s and, of course, those with gambling problems and conditions around the world. Listening to, and following, the results and advice Finlay has to offer could lead people and heavy gamblers alike towards feeling like they’re ahead of the game. Especially when it comes to feeling entrapped or influenced in casino-esque or gambling-provoking environments. This research could help heavy gamblers see the things that cause their condition to arise. They could see results from the study and discover how to beat the casino environment, thanks to Finlay. Finlay’s research is funded by Ontario Problem Gambling Research Center.