Indicated prevention of problem gambling: Current scientific knowledge and future challenges [German]


Objective: Measures of indicated prevention are an important element of policies in the gambling sector. These measures are targeted at at-risk gamblers and at keeping them from developing pathological gambling patterns. The objective of this study is to give an overview on available measures of indicated prevention of problem gambling and their respective effects. Methods: This review compiles results of evaluation studies published in peer-reviewed journals from 1999 to 2012. The literature review identifies studies on the following prevention measures: Telephone and internet-based counseling services, early identification and intervention by supervisory and sales staff, voluntary self-exclusion options, training programs for gamblers, self-help materials, deposit / loss limits with regard to internet gambling and smoking bans. Results: Evaluation studies on low-threshold counseling services (phone or internet-based) show that these lead to a reflection of the gambling behavior on behalf of the person concerned and may initiate a change of his or her personal situation. Furthermore, the self-exclusion option of casinos shows positive effects: In consequence some (problem) gamblers manage to quit their gambling activities and to improve their overall quality of life. Moreover, it is obviously possible to minimize the harmful effects of online gambling by means of limiting deposits and losses (either set by the gambler or preset by the gambling operator). Last but not least, also the other prevention measures show first indications of positive effects. Conclusions: The empirical findings should be considered in the discussion of the expert community and in the formulation of evidence-based prevention policies in the gambling sector. At the same time however, it should be pointed out that long-term studies are needed in order to make reliable assertions as to the long-term effects on the gambling behavior of the target group.

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