Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 39–54 | Cite as

Harm Reduction and Electronic Gambling Machines: Does this Pair Make a Happy Couple or is Divorce Foreseen?

  • Michael Cantinotti
  • Robert Ladouceur
Review Paper


Recent empirical studies have evaluated if modifying electronic gambling machine (EGM) structural features could encourage safer gambling behaviors and decrease gambling-related problems. Several of these studies refer to Harm Reduction (HR), suggesting that the HR paradigm is useful to design, implement and test the efficacy of various prevention and treatment programs applied to EGM users. After reviewing the origins of HR and specifying its operational definition, this paper discusses the relevance of the HR framework for the study of measures related to EGM use and gambling in general. Examples are given to illustrate the arguments. The results show that HR has been over-inclusive in the field of gambling. A specific and operational definition and application of the HR framework is required for HR to be useful for the advancement of research in the gambling field.


Electronic gambling machine EGM Prevention Harm reduction 



Many thanks to Christian Jacques who challenged our views of harm reduction. His insight substantially improved the quality of our paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre québécois d’excellence pour la prévention et le traitement du jeu, École de psychologieUniversité LavalQuebecCanada

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