Parameters for safer gambling behavior: Examining the empirical research

Abstract

There have been claims that new gambling technology is hazardous to player health, and that technological interventions can alleviate gambling-related harm. In this paper, we systematically review the empirical research about the nexus between gambling and technology to evaluate the veracity of these claims. We use a public health perspective (i.e., the Epidemiologic Triangle) to organize and present study results (i.e., agent, host, and environment). This review intends to offer insight about emerging technology and identify areas that indicate a need for additional research. Forty-seven studies met our inclusion and exclusion criteria; a review of this body of work shows that attempts to develop and implement safety features for new gambling technology are promising, but methodologically are rudimentary and limited in scope. Increased attention to the dynamic interaction among host, agent, and environment factors hold potential to advance the field. In addition, improved study methods (e.g., longitudinal analyses of actual betting behavior), and collaboration among policymakers, manufacturers, and researchers can increase understanding of how new gambling technology affects the public health and stimulate new strategies for implementing effective public health interventions.

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