Major Global Review Identifies Alarming Lack of Effort in Tackling Gambling Harm

A groundbreaking review by the University of Glasgow has revealed that global governments are failing to sufficiently address the health and well-being impact of gambling. The review, titled “Public health approaches to gambling: A global review of legislative trends,” was published in The Lancet Public Health and highlighted the lack of commitment among policymakers to address gambling harm in a meaningful way.

The study, conducted in collaboration with the University of Helsinki-based Center for Research on Addiction, Control, and Governance, analyzed legislative changes in countries between 2018 and 2021. The findings indicate that while gambling harm is increasingly acknowledged in legislation worldwide, there is a notable emphasis on controlling individual consumers rather than regulating the gambling industry itself.

Dr. Daria Ukhova, the project investigator at the University of Glasgow, emphasized the devastating impacts of harmful gambling, including a heightened risk of suicide and significant levels of indebtedness. She noted that effective prevention of harm often requires strict control of the industry and the environment in which gambling activities take place, a learning that has not yet translated into action.

The review revealed that legislative focus has primarily been on individual-level harm, neglecting the broader social and economic consequences of gambling. Dr. Ukhova also stressed the importance of regulating the gambling industry’s practices and product design, rather than placing the burden of responsibility solely on individuals.

Dr. Virve Marionneau from the University of Helsinki highlighted the need for a comparative understanding of different legislative and regulatory approaches to gambling harm, emphasizing the global impact of gambling-related harm and the scattered nature of policy responses.

The research aims to inform The Lancet Public Health Commission on Gambling and guide action to reduce gambling harm globally. It emphasizes the importance of adopting systemic solutions to how gambling is provided and promoted in different countries. The study echoes the need for long-term policy directions, interjurisdictional collaboration, and strategic planning to address gambling as a public health issue.

This comprehensive review serves as a call to action for governments to prioritize systemic solutions to prevent gambling harm and promote the well-being of individuals. Ultimately, the findings seek to guide governments in adopting progressive policies to mitigate the adverse effects of gambling on public health. The research paper was published in The Lancet Public Health and can be accessed online for further information.

The groundbreaking review underlines a substantial lack of commitment among global governments to address gambling harm effectively, shedding light on the need for systemic changes to protect individuals and communities from the adverse impacts of gambling.