Clear principles are needed for integrity in gambling research

Abstract

Commercial gambling is expanding rapidly across the globe. However, the field of gambling research has not kept pace with this expansion, and continues to focus on prevalence studies and individuated treatment regimes, with little attention to the political, economic or technological underpinnings of commercial gambling. The implications of this lack of sophistication in the research agenda are that society is ill-equipped to understand the nature and underlying causes of gambling harms, and how these might best be avoided, minimized or ameliorated. Around the world, various levels of government benefit from gambling revenue, with consequences for the independent regulation of gambling. Further, there is considerable industry influence on the research agenda, often involving similar techniques to those employed previously by the tobacco and alcohol industries to engage researchers. This influence is compounded by a failure of many gambling researchers and journals to adopt traditional academic safeguards, such as the disclosure of conflicts of interest, and by many arguing for a 'partnership model' with industry to advance the research agenda. This paper identifies five basic principles to restore reasonable standards of integrity in gambling studies: (1) research should not be funded by the proceeds of gambling; (2) research priorities should not be influenced by the beneficiaries of gambling; (3) conferences and other research fora should not be influenced by industry; (4) funding sources should be disclosed in journals and at conferences; and (5) meaningful access to gambling products and environments must be part of licensing. We also propose a range of actions to promote greater transparency and independence in the gambling research field.

Problem with this document? Please report it to us.