Blame it on Reno: a commentary on Hancock and Smith

Abstract

In this article, we provide a commentary on Hancock and Smith’s critique of the Reno model of responsible gambling. In our view, Hancock and Smith raise many legitimate concerns about the progress of gambling policy reform. Most attempts at minimising the harm associated with higher risk gambling products such as EGMs have been based on responsible gambling principles rather than a true consumer protection framework. As a result, much of the emphasis has been on modifying individual behaviour rather than significant reforms relating to industry operations, practices and the nature of the products. On the whole, we endorse these views. However, we argue that the paper depicts developments in research and policy a bit too selectively and also imputes too many causal links between the Reno model and other activities in the gambling sector. Some reforms and research topics identified in the paper have been discussed, investigated or implemented in some jurisdictions. Other issues including the slow replacement cycle of gambling technology and the structure of the gaming industry may also need to be considered as barriers to reform.

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