Abstract: Licensing is currently the most popular option among regulators for controlling gambling operations. However, approximately 20% of operators are still public monopolies. Many forms of gambling (especially lotteries) are government operated even in countries with a licensing system. This creates an inherent conflict of interest, given that government is supposed to protect the wellbeing of its citizenry and to reap the benefits of gambling at the same time. At least in the gambling monopoly, however, addressing the unavoidable harm that results from gambling should be a priority. Industry self-regulation and reliance on “responsible gambling” rely too much on individuals to control their own gambling. It is suggested in this contribution that it is possible to provide more comprehensive consumer protection, recognising both the duty of governments to take care of their own citizens and the fact that industry self-regulation is not enough. Precommitment cards have been tested in various contexts, and have shown promise in terms of providing tools for individuals to restrict their own gambling. However, given the known shortcomings such as allowing the use of other cards that are not one’s own, and other venues, it is clear that in themselves they do not guarantee effective prevention. Personal licensing is therefore explored as a move forward in this literature-based discussion. Although the system may be applicable to other contexts, the focus is on the Nordic countries. Given that the underlying justification for gambling monopolies is to control gambling-related harm, in the cases of Finland and Norway licensing could be combined with loyalty cards introduced by monopoly operators. This would provide a feasible alternative to current practices of responsible gambling. Article available online
Reference: Nikkinen, J. (2018). Is there a need for personal gambling licences? Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 2019, 36(2) 108–124. DOI: 10.1177/1455072518811029
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. Article available online
Reference: Lipnowski, I., & McWhirter, A. (2018). Optimal public policy for government-operated gambling. Journal of Gambling Issues, 40(December). Retrieved from https://jgi.camh.net/index.php/jgi/article/view/4033/4367
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.
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.
Over the last couple of years, the gambling industry has identified social responsibility as a major cornerstone of their business (Harris & Griffiths, 2017). The main goal of social responsibility practices in gambling is the application of procedures and tools that help minimize gambling-related harm. Because of its technological infrastructure, researchers have pointed out that many responsible gambling (RG) initiatives may actually be more effective online. Previous research has shown that information technology developments which are helpful in reducing negative consequences associated with gambling are endorsed by regular gamblers (Parke & Griffiths, 2012). Access full article
By Mark Griffiths & Michael Auer. (2018). CGiMagazine.com
By Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M.
Abstract: Gambling-related harm results primarily from financial losses. Internationally Australia continues to rank as the largest spending nation per capita on gambling products. This would suggest that Australian gamblers are at disproportionately high risk of harm despite almost two decades of industry scrutiny and regulation, and investment in research, treatment and education programs. However, declines in participation rates, per capita expenditure, household expenditure, national disposable income spent on gambling and problem gambling rates have been cited as evidence that fewer people are gambling, that gamblers are spending less, and that gambling safety in Australia has improved. The current study investigated these propositions using national population and accounts data, and statistics from Australia’s two population-representative gambling surveys conducted in 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Despite a falling participation rate the study found no real change in the number of people gambling overall, and increasing numbers consuming casino table games, race wagering and sports betting. Further found were increases rather than decreases in average gambler expenditure, overall, and across most products, particularly electronic gaming machines (EGMs). Potentially risky levels of average expenditure were observed in both periods, overall and for race wagering, casino table gaming, and EGMs. Changes in the proportion of income spent on gambling suggest risks declined overall and for race wagering and casino table gaming, but increased for EGMs. Finally, while problem gambling statistics were not comparable between periods, the study found double the number of moderate risk gamblers previously estimated for 2010–2011 amongst the 2 million Australians found to have experienced one or more gambling-related problems. The findings have implications for public health policy and resourcing, and the way in which prevalence and expenditure statistics have been interpreted by researchers, government and industry in Australia and elsewhere.
Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M. (2017). Gambling Participation, Expenditure and Risk of Harm in Australia, 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9708-0