Unveiling Global Policy Strategies to Combat Gambling Harm

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Greo Evidence Insights, in partnership with IAGR, presents an overview of global policy-level strategies to enhance treatment for gambling-related harms.

As gambling-related harms continue to pose a substantial public health challenge, societies are grappling with the need to develop effective treatment and support systems. In response to this urgent issue, the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) has collaborated with Greo Evidence Insights, an independent non-profit organization specializing in evidence-based practices, to spotlight policy-level approaches aimed at bolstering treatment options for gambling-related harms worldwide.

Exposing Answers to Gambling Harm

Greo's mandate involves fortifying programs, policies, and practices through evidence-backed insights and stakeholder engagement. Leading up to the anticipated IAGR2023 conference, Greo is delving into critical conference themes, providing invaluable snapshots of evidence to the members. This month, the organization focuses on policy-level strategies for supporting treatment in the realm of problem gambling and related harms.

This exploration was ignited by the session "Strengthen Regulations and Controls for Effective Treatment of Disordered Gambling," featuring Sibongile Simelane-Quntana, the Executive Director of the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation, during the IAGR2023 conference.

Gambling-related harms are multifaceted, impacting individuals, communities, and populations at large. While preventative measures and education initiatives play pivotal roles in curbing gambling harms across these levels, treatment remains an indispensable avenue for individuals grappling with moderate to severe gambling-related issues.

The existing body of evidence concerning gambling harm treatment, albeit limited in terms of cultural diversity and long-term studies, has yielded promising practices. Cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and a spectrum of support options with low access barriers, including helplines, remote interventions, and self-help strategies, have proven effective in managing gambling-related harms.

Policy strategies for the treatment of gambling-related harms, including the involvement of gambling regulators, exhibit noteworthy variations across jurisdictions.

The pivotal question remains: how can policymakers, including regulators, facilitate comprehensive, integrated, and fitting treatment and support avenues for individuals ensnared in gambling-related harms?

Global Gambling Harm Policies

Presenting recently published research findings in this domain, Greo underscores several policy-level strategies from around the world:

  • United Kingdom

    The UK government's Gambling Act Review white paper suggests allocating funds from a statutory levy on gambling operators to enhance the integration of public and third-sector treatment services. This initiative aims to augment accessibility to support and treatment for those combating gambling addiction.

  • Australia

    Australia's examination of online gambling-related harm advocates for a national strategy encompassing measures to deliver appropriate treatment services for affected individuals. Additionally, the report recommends ongoing funding for research into treatment best practices. Levies would support the national regulator in collaborating with jurisdictions on optimal prevention, detection, early intervention, and treatment provisions.

  • United States

    Variation in attention to safer gambling initiatives is observed among US gambling regulatory bodies. States directing substantial funding towards problem gambling services enjoy comprehensive treatment options with high utilization rates. Conversely, states allocating less funding report fewer enrolments in state-funded gambling treatment programs, relying more on industry donations and non-profit services.

  • Canada

    Regulations in British Columbia mandate that voluntary self-exclusion (VSE) requests trigger referrals to problem gambling treatment services.

As the world grapples with the growing concerns of gambling-related harms, the insights provided by Greo shed light on innovative policy strategies to foster treatment and support, ultimately striving for a safer and healthier gambling landscape.

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