Student Perspective | Harshdeep S. Mangat | PhD

Gibraltar is a great place to build your network among the gaming and gambling industry. I believe I can help drive policy and interventions that help users in the industry, while applying what we learn and work on, at the research centre.
25th July 2022

What does having a CERG scholarship mean to you?

Having a CERG scholarship is a big feeling. It makes me feel like a valued member of the organisation, and the university. To have the trust and faith of Dr Zsolt Demetrovics & Dr Darren Fa in pulling off high quality research during my PhD is a major driving force that keeps me motivated and going strong.

Why did you choose Gibraltar?

Primarily, due to the experience at hand at the CERG. Zsolt is a highly accomplished academic, and that reflects in how he mentors us as PhD students as well as supporting researchers at the centre. Also, Gibraltar is a great place to build your network among the gaming and gambling industry. I believe I can help drive policy and interventions that help users in the industry, while applying what we learn and work on, at the research centre.

What is special about doing your PhD here?

It is a unique experience. Gibraltarian culture is unique, and very accommodating and welcoming to others. I have had very positive experiences here, and it feels like I have been here for years. All the PhD students around different cohorts also get along well giving us a good sense of identity at the university.
There’s a strong feeling of belonging and cohesion within the research team. It feels like all of us want to contribute to starting a centre that can accomplish great things in the near future. There is enthusiasm and a lot of mutual trust and respect. All the other team members have varied experiences from working with some of the top minds in the addiction psychiatry and psychology research space, and that really reflects in the team culture. I try and learn from them and gain as much as I can from the program. We like to spend as much time as possible at the centre because it is an exciting experience, and we all really enjoy what we do.
We get to be involved in the everyday running of the centre, as well as gain valuable research experience outside of just our thesis projects.
The support system at the university is also very positive, I feel included and involved in anything I want to contribute towards, and I really appreciate that from the university.

What would you say to someone else who might be considering a PhD with us?

If you have a passion to study what the university can offer, then you will enjoy every moment of your time here. The close-knit teams, and the amount of time you can spend with your supervisors is very positive, and you can really maximise your time as a PhD student. But of course, if anybody wants an even more candid conversation with me, I am happy to discuss it in more detail personally.

Describe your PhD project and the expected outcome.

My PhD project will revolve around studying and understanding motivations and behaviour of people who bet on competitive videogame matches, also known as eSports betting. While it may sound similar to traditional sports betting, eSports bettors are a unique demographic, that cannot be directly compared to other types of bettors.
The study will focus around many factors like the relationship between eSports spectatorship/consumption and betting; predictors and risk factors of eSports betting, and educational & prevention programs for the, ‘at risk’ demographic.

What type of research does it involve and what skills will you be learning?

It will involve both, qualitative and quantitative research over the full course of three years. Like previously mentioned, we contribute towards many studies at the centre, and widening our net of different research methodologies and techniques.
I will and have been learning many different skills, like data analysis in R & SPSS, while building on other essential quantitative and qualitative research skills.
I will also be developing interpersonal skills, networking skills, oratory skills through workshops and activities, and time management skills.
The university has also facilitated research modules like ethics, integrity, research introductions etc. through Epigeum in addition to weekly research lectures to sharpen our skills.

Why should the public know about this topic?

Videogames are a very important part of recreation and professional videogaming is a viable career path for the current generations. However, there are some potential harmful behaviours that might arise out of that recreation, and I feel we can reduce and prevent that without causing any consumer inconvenience. Awareness and education against such harmful behaviour, like underage betting, could lead to an even more immersive, seamless, and enjoyable experience that comes with videogames today.

What will be the wider impact of your research?

I hope that through this research and later in the future I will be able to contribute to the development of essential interventions and education programs, to the recommendation of strong regulatory frameworks, the revision and updating of existing policies and to catering to the growing forms of youth gambling services. Hopefully, this project would contribute to the protection and education of young gamers, and their parents from developing harmful behaviours resulting from eSports consumption and spectatorship.
  • PhD

    PhD by Research

    Our PhD by research programme is based on independent study, guided by your assigned supervisors and support system. It typically takes a minimum of three years to complete full-time, or a minimum of five years when studied part-time.[...]

    FT 3 to 5 Years/ PT 4 to 8 Years

    No Placement option

    Full/Part Time

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