The Lancet Public Health considers gambling a neglected public health issue
The Lancet Public Health journal have published their January 2021 report; underlining their concerns over “urgent, neglected, and understudied” gambling issues.
Contributors Heather Wardle (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK), Louisa Degenhardt, (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia), and Shekhar Saxena (Harvard University, Cambridge, USA) declared the release of the the journal inaugural Commission on Gambling. This “scientific inquiry” discusses concerns over gambling behaviours , arguing that gambling is an “urgent, neglected, understudied, and worsening public health predicament”.
The study reads: “For 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”
The inquiry is quite conflicting in itself since scientists proclaim that there is a lack of research on the effects that gambling has on mental health; disregarding the many studies highlighting underlying genetic vulnerabilities to gambling disorders.
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 rejects the term “responsible gambling”; claiming 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.”
Nevertheless, efforts over recent years to spread the message on the harms of gambling and awareness for addictions have massively increased. Operators are now working more closely with responsible gambling companies; including integrated responsible gambling solutions to their products.