Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 771–788 | Cite as

Recommendations for International Gambling Harm-Minimisation Guidelines: Comparison with Effective Public Health Policy

  • Sally M. GainsburyEmail author
  • Matthijs Blankers
  • Claire Wilkinson
  • Karen Schelleman-Offermans
  • Janna Cousijn
Review Paper


Problem gambling represents a significant public health problem, however, research on effective gambling harm-minimisation measures lags behind other fields, including other addictive disorders. In recognition of the need for consistency between international jurisdictions and the importance of basing policy on empirical evidence, international conventions exist for policy on alcohol, tobacco, and illegal substances. This paper examines the evidence of best practice policies to provide recommendations for international guidelines for harm-minimisation policy for gambling, including specific consideration of the specific requirements for policies on Internet gambling. Evidence indicates that many of the public health policies implemented for addictive substances can be adapted to address gambling-related harms. Specifically, a minimum legal age of at least 18 for gambling participation, licensing of gambling venues and activities with responsible gambling and consumer protection strategies mandated, and brief interventions should be available for those at-risk for and experiencing gambling-related problems. However, there is mixed evidence on the effectiveness of limits on opening hours and gambling venue density and increased taxation to minimise harms. Given increases in trade globalisation and particularly the global nature of Internet gambling, it is recommended that jurisdictions take actions to harmonise gambling public health policies.


Problem gambling Addictions Public health policy Best practice Internet gambling Harm minimisation 



The authors would like to thank Addiction Research Institute Rotterdam (IVO) and Stichting Volksbond Rotterdam for organizing/supporting the IVO Master Class Addiction 2012. The authors would also like to acknowledge the feedback and support provided by the Senior Researchers at the Master Class, in particular Rachel Volberg and Marc Potenza, as well as the Junior Researchers. Sally Gainsbury has received direct and indirect funding from companies and organisations associated with the gambling industry and organisations, including non-profit and government organisations, which receive direct and indirect funding from the gambling industry. Claire Wilkinson is partially supported by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and education, and independent, charitable organisation working to prevent the harmful use of alcohol in Australia

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally M. Gainsbury
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthijs Blankers
    • 2
    • 3
  • Claire Wilkinson
    • 4
    • 5
  • Karen Schelleman-Offermans
    • 6
  • Janna Cousijn
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Gambling Education and ResearchSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research, Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical CentreUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Trimbos InstituteNetherlands Institute of Mental Health and AddictionUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Centre for Health and Society, School of Population HealthThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.Centre for Alcohol Policy ResearchTurning Point Alcohol and Drug CentreMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Department of Health PromotionMaastricht University/CAPHRIMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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