Informed decision making

Abstract

The concept of the informed decision is pervasive and is essential to our systems of law and economics. It is at the heart of consumer protection, health promotion and all risk reduction strategies in any field. Essentially, we are all expected to inform ourselves about benefits and risks related to any product or action. For their part, the providers of goods or services are expected to make the appropriate information available to individuals, so that we have the necessary facts required to make the decisions that are right for us. The type of information provided, the communication methods, and the degree of effort expended to ensure the information received, varies in relation to the risks involved. Across Canada, governments and gaming providers have recognized the importance of giving patrons information to make informed decisions about their gambling. They have set in place a wide variety of programs/strategies to inform gamblers about a range of topics, like: how gambling works, tips on managing play, factors that increase risk, and help resources for problem gambling. The modes of information delivery are also diverse, including pamphlets, brochures, television or radio commercials, posters, and on-site information centres, to name a few. For the fiscal year 2008/2009 it is estimated that the total expenditure for awareness and information programs across Canada totalled approximately 50 million dollars. While there is considerable investment in awareness and information for gamblers, there has been little systematic analysis of what information is appropriate for gamblers with different levels of involvement in gambling and how that information might best be provided. The Insight 2010 project took a close look at the collective experience of gaming providers and governments in helping patrons make informed decisions and assembled a framework to assist decision makers in getting the right information, to the right person, at the right time.

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