An unsafe bet? The dangerous rise of gambling and the debate we should be having

Abstract

Argues that gambling represents a danger to public health due to its inherent addiction potential, which is being intentionally downplayed by the gambling industry and governments. Summarises gambling in three regions: Australia, New Zealand and East Asia; North America; and Europe. Focuses particularly on the situation in Britain, discussing the legislative and regulatory gambling framework in Britain and the gambling habits of its citizens. Lays out the research around addiction theory, arguing that gambling is dangerous, and that it is so because it has the potential for addiction. Considers the question of why some people are more at risk than others, and the highly politicised question of whether the fault lies principally in characteristics of people's personalities or in the availability and nature of the gambling product itself. Sets out the controversy around gambling policy, including different ways of viewing gambling, public attitudes to gambling, and attempts at cost-bene?t analysis of gambling for society. Discusses the failure to challenge the growth of gambling despite its dangerousness, focusing on governments and their complicity with an expansionist gambling industry and others who have joined the government – industry consensus and therefore failed to mount a challenge. Makes a number of recommendations about the regulation of gambling.

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