Playing social roulette: The impact of gambling on individuals and society in Ireland

Abstract

This scholarly research study explored gambling behaviour in Ireland, specifically the issue of problem gambling and its impact on the individual, the gambler’s relationships with social connections, and the wider impact of problem gambling behaviour on community and society. The project followed an exploratory, ethnographic approach to enable participants to express themselves fully from their perspective, to facilitate in-depth understanding of gambling behaviour, and to provide a foundation for future research projects in this area. The research was conducted as four work packages, involving data collection with critical stakeholders: 1) Addiction Service Providers, 2) Gamblers, 3) Gamblers' Social Connections, and 4) the Gambling Industry. Data were collected using semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Problem gambling not only affects the individual who participates in gambling opportunities, but also that person’s family members, friends, and wider community. There are multiple areas where stakeholders' needs can be facilitated, including regulation and policy development to protect those vulnerable to negative outcomes associated with gambling. Importantly, collaboration among all stakeholders should be initiated. Findings suggest that development of a regulatory framework and a social policy framework is urgently needed. A national strategy for service provision is essential. Further research into gambling behaviour and approaches and services is urgently needed in Ireland.

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