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The Lancet Public Health: Gambling is a neglected public health issue

The Lancet Public Health journal have published their January 2021 report; highlighting concerns over "urgent, neglected, and understudied" gambling problems

Contributors Heather Wardle (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK), Louisa Degenhardt, (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia), and Shekhar Saxena (Harvard University, Cambridge, USA) announced the launch of the the journal inaugural Commission on Gambling.

The "scientific inquiry" addresses concerns over gambling behaviours , arguing gambling is an "urgent, neglected, understudied, and worsening public health predicament".

The study states:

the-lancet-public-healthFor most of the latter part of the 20th century, gambling has been overlooked as a public health issue. Gambling harms are hidden and often complicated by associations with other health difficulties

Responsible GamingThe inquiry itself is arguably polarising given that scientists argue that there is a lack of research on the effects of gambling on mental health; dismissing countless studies highlighting underlying genetic vulnerabilities to gambling disorders.

Indeed, CalvinAyre argue that "first-degree relatives of pathological gamblers are eight times more likely to develop their own gambling issues than individuals not sharing this tainted DNA". 

The Lancet Public Health journal shuts down the term "responsible gambling"; arguing that it “carries with it a message of irresponsibility and shame for those who supposedly cannot control their gambling”.

The scientists argue:

The gambling industry will strongly resist and argue against proposals to introduce interventions that might regulate or restrict their commercial activities.

However, efforts over recent years to highlight the harms of gambling and awareness for addictions have heightened. Operators now work more closely with responsible gambling companies; including integrated responsible gambling solutions to their products. 

Source: Calvin Ayre , The Lancet

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