Progress on Gambling harm reduction 2010 to 2017: Outcomes report – New Zealand strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm – online report from the Ministry of Health

Summary: Overall, the outcomes presented in this report show progress has been made in reducing gambling harm and inequalities in New Zealand. However, since approximately 2012 the downward movement in harm levels has plateaued. A range of research-based explanations for these outcomes has been identified and presented. Research has shown that the plateauing in harm reduction is not unique to New Zealand.
Progress has also been made across all of the 11 objectives set out in the Ministry’s integrated Strategy in a number of the areas, although challenges to further progress have been identified. These results imply that the current harm reduction activities should be reviewed and reinvigorated if the aim is to further reduce levels of gambling harm and inequities.
Access online report from the Ministry of Health

Reference: Ministry of Health. (2018). Progress on Gambling harm reduction 2010 to 2017: Outcomes report – New Zealand strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

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The treatment of gambling disorder: A comprehensive (socio-psychological-neurobiological) explanation and therapy model?


Available online working paper made available via the Social Science Open Access Repository.


Summary: In this theoretical work, we present the clinical picture of pathological gambling, an etiological explanatory model and resulting therapeutic implications. Social, psychological and physiological factors are included. The “addiction model” also distinguishes between factors relevant to the onset and continuation of disturbed gambling behavior. Multifactorial causes must be postulated in the “entry phase” of the behavior. During the actual “addiction phase“, the self-perpetuating disturbed gambling behavior is characterized by a strong mental dependence and a nearly autonomously triggered addiction behavior (loss of control) associated with structural changes in the deeper brain areas of the „reward system“. There is an “irresistible urge” to continue gambling, upheld not least by a dominance of gambling behavior in the reward system and the accompanying dysfunction of this area of the brain.

At the beginning of therapy, the focus lies on the addictive behavior itself. The symptoms that developed last are the ones that are first incorporated into the therapy consideration, whereby the therapeutic goals are to be set in a certain order: (a) Motivation, withdrawal symptoms after the patient stopped gambling, (b) insight into the disease (do not deny further) and its acceptance, (c) consolidation of the abstinence through a treatment of the causes of disease development. Dependence means not having sufficient alternatives. The reconstruction of the reward system and the development of a wide range of varied alternatives are an important prerequisite for avoiding relapse and achieving a balanced and satisfied way of life. Eliminating the dominance of gambling in the reward system and strongly anchoring the desired potently rewardable alternatives in behavior is associated with significant psychological and physiological resistance. The adrenaline rush of gambling is not easily compensated and cannot be replaced with lukewarm water or realistic thinking. Problems of implementing desired behavioral changes have not yet been sufficiently taken into account and there is a lack of necessary research. Are there any obligatory treatment factors? Full article

Reference: Bachmann, M., Bachmann, A.A., & Frensemeier, S. (2019). The treatment of gambling disorder: A comprehensive (socio-psychological-neurobiological) explanation and therapy model? Retrieved from https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:0168- ssoar-61824-8

How are video games and gambling converging?


Available online – Evidence brief from the Gambling Research Exchange Ontario in which the authors outline four key ways that gambling and video games are converging.


[Introduction] In the past five years we have seen digital games and gambling shifting closer together than ever before. Although gambling per se has been available on digital platforms for several decades now, even the most video-game-like gambling experiences … rarely achieved much success. However, more recently a number of very new phenomena have emerged, and become highly successful, which blur video games and gambling in ways not before seen. Specifically, we are seeing video games increasingly shift to using gambling systems in a number of ways, while gambling systems are developing tropes of video games to appeal to new demographics. These are important new shifts for understanding the contemporary gambling landscape, and in this document we seek to outline several of the key ways this is taking place, and why they should be of interest to scholars, policymakers, and the public with an interest in the cutting-edge state of digital gambling. Access full article

Reference: Johnson, M.R., & Brock, T. (2019). How are video games and gambling converging? Gambling Research Exchange Ontario, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Framing a public health approach to gambling harms in Wales: Challenges and opportunities


Available online – Report commissioned by Public Health Wales takes a broader perspective on the impact of gambling than previous traditional medical perspectives.


Introduction: Recent years have seen substantial increases in the availability of gambling. In Great Britain, the gambling industry’s annual Gross Gambling Yield (GGY; that is, the difference between bets paid in and bets paid out) has increased to £14.4bn in 2017/18. This suggests that either more people are gambling or that those who do gamble are spending more money gambling than previously. These observations, along with rapid technological changes that now provide gambling products and services through online and mobile platforms to more sectors of the population, have heightened concerns about the numbers of people at-risk of experiencing gambling harms and associated social costs Access full report

Reference: Rogers, R.D., Wardle, H., Sharp, C.A., Dymond, S., Davies, T.J., Hughes, K. & Astbury, G. (2019). Framing a public health approach to gambling harms in Wales: Challenges and opportunities. Cardiff: Public Health Wales.

Gambling behaviour data and modalities of persuasive interaction for enabling responsible online gambling [open access technical report]

Abstract: Online gambling, unlike offline forms of gambling and other mediums of problematic and addictive behaviours such as alcohol and tobacco, offers unprecedented opportunities for monitoring and understanding users’ behaviour in real-time, along with the ability to adapt persuasive messages and interactions that would fit the gamblers usage and personal context. This opens a whole new avenue for research on the monitoring and interactive utilization of gambling behavioural data. To this end, in this paper we explore the range of data and modalities of interaction which can facilitate richer interactive persuasive interventions and offer additional support to goal setting, with ultimate aim of aiding gamblers to stay in control of their gambling experience [continues]. Access full report

Citation: Drosatos, G.Arden-Close, E.Bolat, E.Vuillier, L. and Ali, R., 2018. Gambling Behaviour Data and Modalities of Persuasive Interaction for Enabling Responsible Online Gambling. Technical Report. Poole, England: Bournemouth University.

Responsible gambling in practice: A case study of views and practices of Swedish oriented gambling companies [open access research report]

Abstract: The Swedish gambling market faces a major change in legislation that will allow foreign-based companies to apply for a gambling licence in Sweden. A key element in the new legislation are consumer protection measures. The Swedish gambling market is currently divided between licensed companies and non-Swedish-based companies providing online gambling services without a licence in Sweden. How these companies view their responsibility for preventing gambling-related harm and how prepared they are for the new regulations are important questions regarding the new Swedish gambling market. Access full report

Citation: David Forsström & Jenny Cisneros Örnberg. (2018). Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 1–17. DOI: 10.1177/1455072518802492

Trajectories of social and economic outcomes and problem gambling risk in Australia [open access report]

Description: Researchers are increasingly recognising the importance of longitudinal data in providing valuable information on individuals to better understand gambling behaviour, trajectories, risks and consequences … This paper makes use of a longitudinal data source that has, for the first time, included questions on gambling behaviour in Australia: the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The HILDA survey included gambling questions for the first time in 2015 (wave 15). Although the HILDA survey currently provides data on gambling at a single point in time, there are data on the individuals back to 2001, in most cases. This paper uses selected social, economic and health variables, and analyses their trajectories over time across the gambling risk categories measured in 2015. The paper explores economic variables (household income, employment, qualifications, financial hardship, risk and stress) and selected social variables (life satisfaction, psychological distress, alcohol intake and smoking) from multiple HILDA waves. The analysis clearly shows that problem gamblers experience significantly worse outcomes than those without gambling problems, and poor outcomes go back a number of years [continues]. Access full report

Citation: Fogarty, M., Taylor, M., and Gray, M. (2018). Trajectories of social and economic outcomes and problem gambling risk in Australia, CSRM Working Paper No. 9, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, ANU, Canberra.