Recommendations for international gambling harm-minimisation guidelines: Comparison with effective public health policy

Sally M Gainsbury, Matthijs Blankers, Claire Wilkinson, Karen Schelleman-Offermans, Janna Cousijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-788
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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