The comparative effectiveness of regulatory approaches and the impact of advertising on propensity for problem gambling

Abstract

AIM: Provides an overview of the research gaps in relation to two fields: the comparative effectiveness of regulatory approaches and the impact of advertising on propensity for problem gambling. METHOD: Used a Rapid Evidence Assessment approach, which is a compressed version of a Systematic Review. Aimed to identify all relevant publications in the most important databases. Fully reviewed 36 articles (regulation) and 17 articles (advertising). Due to the lack of empirical evidence, so-called 'concept papers' were also discussed, i.e., discussion articles, reviews and responses to other articles or opinion pieces. FINDINGS: No published empirical evidence directly addresses the comparative effectiveness of regulatory approaches to gambling. In concept papers most researchers argue that gambling should be framed as a public health issue but disagree on the intensity of restrictions to gambling services. Academic discourse diverges from that of policy makers, who tend to discuss the effectiveness of concrete regulatory choices. Measuring the impact of advertising upon the propensity of a population to experience problem gambling is complex. Advertising can influence perceptions of gambling, particularly those of adolescents. This can lead to unbalanced views between the positive aspects and the risks of gambling, and reinforce erroneous perceptions. Some pathological gamblers experience gambling advertising as trigger to re-engage in gambling. Finally, the broader field of marketing efforts should also be considered. No research has been conducted in Great Britain examining these issues. CONCLUSIONS: Important research gaps need to be filled in relation to regulatory approaches and gambling advertising.

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