THE MATHEMATICAL FACTS OF GAMES OF CHANCE BETWEEN EXPOSURE, TEACHING, AND CONTRIBUTION TO COGNITIVE THERAPIES: PRINCIPLES OF AN OPTIMAL MATHEMATICAL INTERVENTION FOR RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING
Infarom, Applied Mathematics Division
On the question of whether gambling behavior can be changed as result of teaching gamblers the mathematics of gambling, past studies have yielded contradictory results, and a clear conclusion has not yet been drawn. In this paper, I bring some criticisms to the empirical studies that tended to answer no to this hypothesis, regarding the sampling and laboratory testing, and I argue that an optimal mathematical scholastic intervention with the objective of preventing problem gambling is possible, by providing the principles that would optimize the structure and content of the teaching module. Given the ethical aspects of the exposure of mathematical facts behind games of chance, and starting from the slots case – where the parametric design is missing, we have to draw a line between ethical and optional information with respect to the mathematical content provided by a scholastic intervention. Arguing for the role of mathematics in problem-gambling prevention and treatment, interdisciplinary research directions are drawn toward implementing an optimal mathematical module in cognitive therapies.
Keywords: gambling mathematics; slot machines; probability theory; interpretations of probability; psychology of probability; gambling ethics.
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