National market protectionist gambling policies in the European Union: The Finnish gambling monopoly merger as a case in point.

Available online – Policy paper published in the Journal of Gambling Issues.

Abstract: A rapidly growing globalized and digitalized gambling industry has compelled European jurisdictions to take action in order to secure some level of gambling market control, to secure public funds from gambling, and to protect citizens from gambling-related harm. This study concerns the market protectionist endeavour to merge three gambling operators into one state-owned monopoly in Finland in 2017. The justification of the systemic change is analysed in key policy documents and media reporting that discerns the political narratives that nudged the monopoly merger from the idea stage to its completion. Within the narratives, the merger is presented as necessary due to the threats of market intrusion by foreign gambling operators and the likelihood of an internal system implosion framed by European Union (EU) law. The worries expressed in the studied materials plug into a general zeitgeist of globalization. The justifications of the systemic change presuppose the inevitable determination of the change and an innate and constant human desire to gamble. Critical views on the merger were introduced in the media at a late stage, stressing the role of the media as a facilitator and manufacturer of political consent. The study demonstrates how market protectionist justifications can, through the maintenance of a regulated gambling market, assure preservation of national public funds obtained from gambling in the EU. The official gambling policy objective of securing public health played a secondary role in the process. Full article

Reference: Selin, J., Hellman, M. & Lerkkanen, T. (2019). National market protectionist gambling policies in the European Union: The Finnish gambling monopoly merger as a case in point. Journal of Gambling Issues, 41. Retrieved from


Optimal public policy for government-operated gambling [open access policy paper]

Abstract: This paper presents a framework for formulating the optimal public policy for government-operated gambling. The goal of public policy with respect to government-operated gambling is typically stated as ‘‘harm minimization.’’ This claim masks the possible trade-off between an increase in social harm (H) and the government’s incremental net revenue (R) from increased gambling activity. Using a graphical approach, we depict first the feasible combinations of H and R, and then identify the combinations that could be classified as efficient, thereby allowing the minimum social harm for any given level of the government’s incremental net revenue from gambling. We indicate how the optimal combination of H and R could be identified and realized in both the short and long run. We then utilize the body of research on gambling and its effects to qualify what this trade-off operates
in the real world. Access policy paper

Citation: Irwin Lipnowski & Austin McWhirter. (2018). Journal of Gambling Issues, 40. 

An exploratory study of gamblers’ perceptions of music’s effects on gambling behaviour [open access article]

Abstract: Background music is often present in gambling environments and has been found to influence gamblers’ behaviour. However, little is known about gamblers’ perception of environmental influences, including music, and whether gamblers believe that such influences can impact upon their gambling behaviour. An online questionnaire was administered to 136 gamblers to probe the perceived effects of gambling operator-selected and self-selected music on the cognitive, emotional, and behavioural aspects of gambling … This study demonstrates that self-selected music is sometimes purposefully used by gamblers to support the cognitive and emotional aspects of gambling. However, as few gamblers believed that music could influence the cognitive, emotional, and behavioural aspects of gambling, this research reveals a disparity between subjective opinions and objective evidence, as gathered in published empirical laboratory experiments. This indicates the need to improve gamblers’ awareness of the potential influence of background music on the gambling experience. Access full article

Citation: Stephanie Bramley, Nicola Dibben, & Richard Rowe. (2018). Journal of Gambling Issues, 40. 

Perceptions of problem gambling among methadone maintenance treatment clients and counsellors [open access article]

Abstract: Problem gambling is highly prevalent and rarely treated among clients who attend methadone maintenance treatment programs (MMTPs). Compared with those of the general population, rates of gambling disorder have been found to be elevated among individuals receiving methadone maintenance treatment. Our study aims were to (a) develop a clearer understanding of the gambling experience of clients and counsellors at a methadone clinic and (b) gain insight into the current treatment options and obstacles to treatment in the clinic. Semi-structured interviews focusing on gambling issues were conducted with 8 clients and 8 counsellors at an MMTP located in an urban area. Participants were asked questions to gain an understanding about their perspectives on, treatment options for, and treatment barriers to problem gambling in the clinic. Data were coded by 4 investigators by using a constant comparison, open coding approach. The findings revealed important differences between clients and counsellors: Opinions differed on the definition of problem gambling, obstacles to treatment, and optimal treatment settings. Clients and counsellors also agreed on some elements, including the negative impact that problem gambling can have on recovery from substance use. This examination of responses of counsellors and client feedback provides a useful mechanism to better understand problem gambling in MMTPs. In addition, the findings have important clinical implications, including a need for more effective screening and treatment in MMTPs and to provide substance use counsellors with training related to problem gambling. Access full article

Megan E. Wall, Cassandra R. Durand, Hana Machover, Rachel Arnold, Haley A. Miles-McLean, Wendy Potts, Loreen Rugle, Christopher Welsh, Seth Himelhoch. (2018). Journal of Gambling Issues.


Hardwired for risk: The clinical utility of exploring evolutionary aspects of gambling [open access article]

Introduction: Evolutionary perspectives increasingly inform the research on addiction. As this knowledge base advances, an increasing corresponding need to translate these understandings into a manner that promotes clinical innovation has consequently emerged. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of emerging perspectives on evolutionary and neurobiological aspects of gambling and to consider how such perspectives can inform and enhance clinical practice. Access full article

By John Paulson, Department of Social Work, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN, USA. Journal of Gambling Issues, 2018.

Developing a best practices guide for the prevention of problem gambling among older adults [open access article]

Turner, N. E., Wiebe, J., Ferentzy, P., Kauffman, N., Zaheer, S., Quosai, T. S., … Mann, R. E. (2018). Journal of Gambling Issues, (39, September). doi:

Abstract: The purpose of this research and development project was to describe the complete gambling experience and to develop best practices for the prevention of problem gambling among older adults (55 years and over) in Ontario. The challenging task of developing best practices involved integrated research and development, as well as knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) throughout the project. We developed a large, multi-organizational, multidisciplinary research team, as well as prevention and treatment work groups comprising investigators, KTE personnel, knowledge users, and service providers from key stakeholder organizations. Research dealing specifically with older adults is scarce; thus, research from other age groups was also drawn upon for this report. We incorporated a variety of types of evidence, including empirical, theoretical, expert opinion, practice-based, and normative. To obtain feedback ahead of finalizing the best practices, we disseminated preliminary best practices to key informants and other knowledge users and service providers. This feedback was incorporated into the current document. This paper presents the first set of evidence-based best practices for the prevention of problem gambling among older adults, including evidence sources, commentary, and references. We hope that these best practices help enhance prevention programs, services, and practices. In addition, we hope that this study prompts future research that examines areas that are currently insufficiently researched and helps provoke a dialogue that will lead to a broader knowledge base to guide prevention policies and practices directed at this growing segment of the population. Access full article

Journal of Gambling Issues, No 36

The Journal of Gambling Issues has released a new issue covering a variety of topics, so rather than list them individually you can peruse the table of contents below. All JGI articles are open access.


Table of Contents

Original Article

What is the harm? Applying a public health methodology to measure the impact of gambling problems and harm on quality of life.

Matthew Browne, Vijay Rawat, Nancy Greer, Erika Langham, Matthew Rockloff, Christine Hanley

Built-in bad luck: Evidence of near-miss outcomes by design in scratch cards

Madison Stange, Dan G. Brown, Kevin Harrigan, Michael Dixon

An Analysis of Media Representation of the Australian Electronic Gaming Machine Industry

June St Clair Buchanan, Michael L. Jones, Ken Tann

Exploring the Relationship Between Body Mass Index, Obesity, and Gambling Level Across Different Gambling Types

Desmond Lam, Man Mok

Evaluation of a School-Based Gambling Prevention Program for Adolescents: Efficacy of Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour

Renée A. St-Pierre, Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Caroline E. Temcheff, Rina Gupta, Alexa Martin-Story

The Social Construction of the Pathological Gambler’s Identity and Its Relationship With Social Adaptation: Narratives From Members of Italian Gambling Anonymous and Gam-Anon Family Groups

Claudia Venuleo, Tiziana Marinaci

Win or Lose: Negotiating meaning of time and money within three gambling settings

Chantal Robillard, Sylvia Kairouz, Eva Monson

On the Feasibility of In-Venue Observations of Electronic Gaming Machine Gamblers and Game Characteristics

Jason Landon, Katie Palmer du Preez, Maria Bellringer, Max Abbott, Amanda Roberts

Closing a Treatment Gap in Ontario: Pilot of a Tutorial Workbook for Women Gamblers

Roberta Boughton, Farah Jindani, Nigel E. Turner

Literature Review

Internet Gambling: A Critical Review of Behavioural Tracking Research

Bernardo T. Chagas, Jorge F. S. Gomes