Critiquing the Reno Model I-IV International Influence on Regulators and Governments (2004–2015)— the Distorted Reality of “Responsible Gambling”

Abstract

This article critically examines the Reno Model responsible gambling undertaking: its evolution, core ideological beliefs and promotion in four internationally influential journal articles, published between 2004 and 2015. This discourse has framed the international RG policy landscape for over a decade; emphasising individualised responsibility for harms and providing governments with justifications for compromised RG regulation. Axioms of the Reno Model are individual responsibility, framed as personal control and autonomy for informed choice and a focus on problem gamblers who manifest clinical symptoms of impaired control. Drawing on corporate political activity (CPA) analysis, regulatory-avoidance framing strategies of the gambling industry include shaping the evidence base, policy substitution (voluntary industry operator codes of conduct and problem gambler treatment programs) and assertions of insufficient evidence for introducing reforms. Barriers to ethical RG standards include deception and exploitation, faulty regulation and grim working conditions in gambling environments, along with Reno Model adherents’ dismissal of contradictory evidence. The critique proposes a shift in the dominant regulatory Model from industry self-regulation under self-monitored codes of practice to RG-Consumer Protection that addresses structural issues of power and vested interests, featuring core principles of public health, consumer protection, operator duty of care, regulatory transparency and independent research.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Adams, P. (2011). Editorial. International Gambling Studies, 11(2), 145–152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Alexius, S. (2011). Making up the responsible gambler (pp. 22–24). Stockholm: Paper presented at the Nordic Academy of Management Conference.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Alliance for Gambling Reform. (2016). Pokies on Trial. October 26. Retrieved from: http://www.pokiesplayyou.org.au/pokiesontrial.

  4. APPG Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Parliamentary Group. (2017). Fixed Odds Betting Terminals Inquiry Report. Retrieved from: www.fobt-appg.com/ .

  5. Astbury, G., & Thurstain-Goodwin, M. (2015). Contextualising machine gambling characteristics by location - final report. London: Geofutures.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bakken, I., Øenl, A., & Götestam, G. (2015). Norway: The slot machine and problem Gambing. Oslo: SINTEF Health Research.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bandura, A. (2002). Selective moral disengagement in the exercise of moral agency. Journal of Moral Education, 31(2), 101–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Banks, G. (2002). The productivity Commission’s gambling inquiry: 3 years on. In Presentation to the 12th Annual Conference of the National Association for Gambling Studies (NAGS). Canberra: Productivity Commission.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Banks, G. (2007). Gambling in Australia: Are we balancing the equation? Australian Gaming Expo Conference. Sydney, (19 August) Retrieved from: http://www.pc.gov.au/news-media/speeches/cs20070819.

  10. Banks, G. (2011). Guest editorial. International Gambling Studies, 11(1), 3–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Blaszczynski, A., & Gainsbury, S. (2014). Editor’s notes. International Gambling Studies., 14(3), 354–356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Blaszczynski, A., Ladouceur, R., & Shaffer, H. (2004). A science-based framework for responsible gambling: The Reno model. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20(3), 301–317.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Blaszczynski, A., Ladouceur, R., Nower, L., & Shaffer, H. (2005). Informed choice and gambling: Principles for consumer protection. Melbourne: Australian Gaming Council.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Blaszczynski, A., Ladouceur, R., Nower, L., & Shaffer, H. (2008). Informed choice and gambling: Principles for consumer protection. Journal of Gambling, Business and Economics, 2(1), 103–118.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Blaszczynski, A., Collins, P., Fong, D., Ladouceur, R., Nower, L., Shaffer, H., Tavares, T., & Venisse, J. L. (2011). Responsible gambling: General principles and minimal requirements. Journal of Gambling Studies, 27(4), 565–573.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Browne, M. N., Kubasek, N. K., & Biksacky, L. (2014). Casinos and problem gamblers: The complexity of legal responsibility. Charlotte Law Review., 339–376.

  17. Browne, M., Langham, E., Rawat, V., Greer, N., Li, E., Rose, J., Rockloff, M., Donaldson, P., Thorne, H., Goodwin, B., Bryden, G., & Best, T. (2016). Assessing gambling-related harm in Victoria: A public health perspective. Melbourne: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Campbell, C., & Smith, G. (2003). Gambling in Canada—From vice to disease to responsibility: A negotiated history. Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, 20(1), 121–149.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Carter, S. (1998). Civility. New York: Harper Perennial.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Cassidy, R. (2014). Fair game? Producing and publishing gambling research. International Gambling Studies, 14(3), 345–353.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Cassidy, R. (2015). Gambling across borders: Disclosure of interest. In Or not Retrieved from: https://gamblingacrossborders.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/disclosures-of-interest-or-not/s.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Chambers, K. (2011). Gambling for profit: Lotteries, gaming machines and casinos in cross-national focus. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  23. Chandler, C., & Jones, J. (2011). Casino women: Courage in unexpected places. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  24. Collins, P., Blaszczynski, A., Ladouceur, R., Shaffer, H., Fong, G., & Venisse, J.-L. (2015). Responsible gambling: Conceptual considerations. Gaming Law Review and Economics, 3, 594–599.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Collins, P., Barr, G., & Scott, L. (2016). Report on results of research into the likely effects of substantially reducing the maximum permitted stake of the effects of reducing the stake on a B2 machine in UK betting shops. In GambleAware Retrieved from: http://about.gambleaware.org/media/1390/peter-collins.pdf.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Crofts, P. (2003). Researching the link between gambling and crime (pp. 24–25). Trends and Methods Conference, Australian Institute of Criminology and Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra: Evaluation in Crime and Justice.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Dickerson, M. (2003a). Exploring the limits of “responsible gambling”: Harm minimization or consumer protection? Gambling Research, 15, 28–43.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Dickerson, M. (2003b). ‘Re-framing “responsible gaming” as consumer protection’. Submission to the IPART inquiry Review of gambling harm minimization measures. Retrieved June 20 2015 from: www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/files/a0cc0ae8-eaab.../M_Dickerson_-_S5505.pdf.

  29. Dow Schull, N. (2012). Addiction by design. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Eadington, W. (2003). Trends in gambling and responsible gambling in the United States and elsewhere. www.unr.edu/gaming, retrieved Feb. 8, 2009.

  31. el-Guebaly N., Currie, S., Hodgins, D., Smith, G. & Williams, R. (2005). Adapting the Reno Model for Alberta. Report prepared for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI), Edmonton: (AGRI).

  32. Etzioni, A. (2004). The common good. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  33. GambleAware. (2016). Harm Minimisation Conference 2016, Keynote Speakers Retrieved from: http://about.gambleaware.org/about/harm-minimisation-conference-2016/keynote-speakers/.

  34. GambleAware. (2017). Independent Research Oversight Panel. Retrieved from: http://about.gambleaware.org/about/independent-research-oversight-panel-irop/robert-ladouceur/.

  35. Gouldner, A. (1962). Anti-Minotaur: The myth of a value-free sociology. Social Problems, 9(3), Winter, 199–213.

  36. Griffiths, M., & Auer, M. (2015). Research funding in gambling studies: Some further observations. International Gambling Studies, 15(1), 15–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Han Leung, T. C., & Snell, R. S. (2015). Attraction or distraction? Journal of Business Ethics: Corporate social responsibility in Macao’s gambling industry Retrieved January 24, 2016 from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-015-2890-z/fulltext.html.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Hancock, L. (2011). Regulatory failure. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Hancock, L. (2013). Giving Dracula the keys to the blood bank? Interrogating the fifth crown casino licensing regulatory review. Journal of Business Systems, Governance and Ethics, 8(1), 1–21 2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Hancock, L., & Hanrahan, S. (2015). Review of the Responsible Gambling Trust machines research Programme. London: Campaign for Fairer Gambling.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Hancock, L., & Hao, Z. (2016). Gambling regulatory regimes and the framing of “responsible gambling” by transnational casino corporations: Asia-Pacific regimes in comparative perspective. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 38(3), 139–153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Hancock, L., Schellinck, T., & Schrans, T. (2008). Gambling and corporate social responsibility (CSR): Re-defining industry and state roles on duty of care, host responsibility and risk management. Policy and Society, 27, 55–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Hao, Z., Hancock, L., & Thompson, W. (2014). In search of best practices in responsible gaming (RG): A comparative study of RG among Macau, Las Vegas, and Melbourne casinos. Gambling Law Review and Economics, 18(4), 361–368.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Henry, A. (2011). Ideology, power, and the structure of policy networks. Policy Studies Journal, 39(3), 361–383.

  45. Hing, N. (2010). The evolution of responsible gambling policy and practice: Insights for Asia from Australia. Asian Journal of gambling issues and Public Health, 1(1), 19–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Hing, N., & Gainsbury, S. (2011). Risky business: Gambling problems amongst gaming venue employees in Queensland Australia. Journal of Gambling Issues, 25, 4–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Hing, N., Sproston, K., Tran, K., & Russell, A. (2016). Gambling responsibly: Who does it and to what end? Journal of Gambling Studies, On-line, 1–17.

  48. Jubinville, G. (2012). Dismissed. Sturgeon County, AB: ADIGI Books.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Kingma, S. (2008). The liberalization and (re)regulation of Dutch gambling markets: National consequences of the changing European context. Regulation & Governance, 2, 445–458.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Korn, D., Reynolds, J., & Skinner, H. (2006). The Reno model – A public health discussion. In Presentation to the 13th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking. Lake Tahoe: Nevada.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Kurland, J. (2002). The heart of the precautionary principle in democracy. Public Health Reports, 117, 498–500.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  52. Lee, J., & Shaw, R. (2014). Despite tougher rules, reports of possible money laundering up at BC casinos. Vancouver Sun, 14.

  53. Livingstone, C., & Adams, P. (2015). Clear principles are needed for integrity in gambling research. Addiction, 111(1), 5–10.

  54. Livingstone, C., & Woolley, R. (2007). Risky business: A few provocations on the regulation of electronic gambling machines. International Gambling Studies, 7, 361–376.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Livingstone, C., Woolley, R., & Keleher, H. (2010). Productivity commission inquiry into Australia’s gambling industry. Canberra: Productivity Commission.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Livingstone, C., Rintoul, A., & Francis, L. (2014). What is the evidence for harm minimisation measures in gambling venues? Evidence Base, 2, 1–24.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Lord, C., Ross, L., & Lepper, M. (1979). Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: The effects of prior theories on subsequently considered evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 2098–2109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Ma v Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police. (2016). VSC 553. Melbourne: Victorian Supreme Court.

    Google Scholar 

  59. MacLaren, V. (2016). Video lottery is the most harmful form of gambling in Canada. Journal of Gambling Studies, 32(2), 459–485.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  60. Markham, F., & Young, M. (2015). Big gambling: The rise of the global industry-state gambling complex. Addiction Research & Theory, 23(1), 1–4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Marsh, D., & Smith, M. (2000). Understanding policy networks: Towards a dialectical approach. Political Studies, 4, 4–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. McAllister, I. (2014). Public opinion toward gambling and gambling regulation in Australia. International Gambling Studies, 14(1), 146–160.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. McMillen, J., & McAllister, G. (2000). Responsible gambling: Legal and policy issues. In Presentation to 3rd National Gambling Regulation Conference, Sydney, may 11–12. Australian Institute of Criminology and Australian Institute of Gambling: Research.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Meirs, D. (2016). Social responsibility and harm minimization in commercial gambling in great Britain. Gaming Law Review and Economics, 20(2), 164–176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Miedema, D. (2012). Government-Gambling’s biggest addict. Ottawa: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Mutari, E., & Figart, D. (2015). Just one more hand: Life in the casino economy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  67. O’Connor, J., & Dickerson, M. (2003). Impaired control over gambling in gaming machine and off-course gamblers. Addiction, 98, 53–60.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  68. Orford, J. (2011). An unsafe bet: The dangerous rise of gambling and the debate we should be having. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Orford, J., Griffiths, M., Wardle, H., Sproston, K., & Erens, B. (2009). Negative public attitudes toward gambling: Findings from the 2007 British gambling prevalence survey using a new attitude scale. International Gambling Studies, 9, 39–54.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Productivity Commission. (1999). Australia’s gambling industries. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Productivity Commission. (2009). Gambling, draft report. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

    Google Scholar 

  72. Productivity Commission. (2010). Gambling final report. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

    Google Scholar 

  73. R v Jamieson, Kate (2006). County Court of Victoria, Melbourne [2006] VCC 1649.

  74. Reith, G. (2004). Consumption and its discontents: Addiction, identity and the problems of freedom. British Journal of Sociology, 55(2), 283–300.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  75. Reith, G. (2013). Techno economic systems and excessive consumption: A political economy of ‘pathological’ gambling. The British Journal of Sociology, 64(4), 717–738.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  76. Room, R. (2005). The wheel of fortune: Cycles and reactions in gambling policies. Addiction, 100, 1226–1227.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  77. Sabatier, P. (1999). The need for better theories. In P. Sabatier (Ed.), Theories of the policy process (pp. 3–17). Boulder: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  78. Sabatier, P., & Jenkins-Smith, H. (1999). The advocacy coalition framework: An assessment. In P. Sebatier (Ed.), Theories of the policy process (pp. 117–166). Westview Press: Boulder.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Savell, E., Gilmore, A. B., & Fooks, G. (2014). How does the tobacco industry attempt to influence marketing regulations? A systematic review. PloS One, 9(2), 1–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Schellinck, T., & Schrans, T. (2004a). From Reno to Halifax: Building on the framework for a global gambling strategy, responsible gambling policy and research. Halifax: Focal research.

    Google Scholar 

  81. Schellinck, T., & Schrans, T. (2004b). Identifying problem gamblers at the gambling venue: Finding combinations of high confidence indicators. Gambling Research, 16(1), 8–24.

    Google Scholar 

  82. Schellinck, T., Schrans, T. & Yi, Z. (2009). Informing the Debate: Specifications for an Effective Gambling Risk Assessment System Based on Loyalty Tracking Data, The 6th International Conference on Gaming Industry and Public Welfare 2009, Macao, China, 149–186.

  83. Schrans, T., & Schellinck, T. (2014). Hedging your bets: Using loyalty data & player tracking data to identify & manage risk. Banff: Alberta Gambling Research Institute annual conference.

    Google Scholar 

  84. Shaffer, H., Blaszczynski, A., Ladouceur, R., & Whyte, K. (2015). Extending the Reno model: Clinical and ethical applications. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(3), 297–309.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  85. Skolnick, J. (1978). House of cards: The legalization and control of casino gambling. Boson: Little Brown and Co..

    Google Scholar 

  86. Skolnick, J., & Dombrink, J. (1979). The limits of gaming control. Connecticut Law Review, 12(762–784), 784.

    Google Scholar 

  87. Smith, G. (2015). The corrupting influence of gambling on governments, research and charities. Paper presented at the Alberta Gambling Research Institute Conference, Banff.

  88. Smith, G., & Rubenstein, D. (2009). Socially responsible and accountable gambling in the public interest. Journal of Gambling Issues, 25, 54–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  89. Smith, G., & Simpson, R. (2014). Gambling addiction defence on trial: Canadian expert witness perspectives. International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, 3, 319–326.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  90. Smith, G., Schopflocher, D., el-Guebaly, N., Casey, D., Hodgins, D., Williams, R., & Wood, R. T. (2011). Community attitudes toward legalized gambling in Alberta. International Gambling Studies, 11(1), 57–79.

  91. Storer, J., Abbott, M., & Stubbs, J. (2009). Access or adaptation? A meta-analysis of surveys of problem gambling prevalence in Australia and New Zealand with respect to concentration of EGMs. International Gambling Studies, 9(3), 225–244.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  92. Transparency International. (2016). Global Corruption Report: Sport. Retrieved from: http://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/global_corruption_report_sport.

  93. Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. (2014). What is responsible gambling? Retrieved10 December 2014 from http://www.responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au/awareness-and-prevention/know-the-odds.

  94. Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. (2016). Many Ways to Help, 2016 Conference Speakers: Alex Blaszczynski. Retrieved from: http://www.manywaystohelp.com.au/speakers/alex-blaszczynski.

  95. Warfield, B. (2014). Gambling motivated fraud in Australia 1998–2007. Sydney: Warfield and Assoc.

    Google Scholar 

  96. Weible, M., Sabatier, P., & McQueen, K. (2009). Themes and variations: Taking stock of the advocacy coalition framework. Policy Studies Journal, 37(1), 121–140.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  97. Williams, R., Belanger, Y., & Arthur, J. (2011a). Gambling in Alberta: History, current status, and socioeconomic impacts. Edmonton: Final Report to the Alberta Gambling Research Institute.

    Google Scholar 

  98. Williams, R.J., Rehm, J., & Stevens, R.M.G. (2011b). The social and economic impacts of gambling. Final report prepared for the Canadian Consortium for Gambling Research, p. 42. Retrieved from: http://www.ccsa.ca/2011 CCSA Documents/SEIG FINAL REPORT.pdf.

  99. Williams, R., Volberg, R. & Stevens, R. (2012a). The population prevalence of problem gambling. Report prepared for the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre (OPGRC). Guelph: (OPGRC).

  100. Williams, R., West, B. & Simpson, R. (2012b). Prevention of problem gambling: A comprehensive review of the evidence and identified best practices. The Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, Guelph: (OPGRC).

  101. Wohl, M., & Wood, R. (2015). Is gambling industry-funded research necessarily a conflict of interest? A reply to Cassidy (2014). International Gambling Studies, 15(1), 12–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  102. Woolley, R., Livingstone, C., Harrigan, K., & Rintoul, A. (2013). House edge: Hold percentage and the cost of EGM gambling. International Gambling Studies, 13(3), 388–402.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Linda Hancock.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no potential or actual conflicts of interest related to this publication or the research upon which it is based.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hancock, L., Smith, G. Critiquing the Reno Model I-IV International Influence on Regulators and Governments (2004–2015)— the Distorted Reality of “Responsible Gambling”. Int J Ment Health Addiction 15, 1151–1176 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9746-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Reno Model
  • Gambling regulation
  • Public health
  • Responsible gambling movement
  • Framing
  • Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) theory
  • Corporate Political Activity (CPA) theory