What’s wrong with responsible gaming?

In the midst of Problem Gambling Awareness Month on Wednesday, Northeastern Law School’s Public Health Advocacy Institute brought together a group of academics and lawyers, mostly from the UK, for a webinar entitled It’s Not the Dough, It’s the Dopamine: The Dangerous Myth of the responsible gambling model.”

Right there in the title, one could say that it would be a rough sled for the concept of responsible gaming and the messages that come with it, something that in most circles is seen as extremely helpful at best and benign at worst. Richard Dynard, a Northeast law professor familiar with Big Tobacco’s difficulties, began by listing several parallels between the cigarette and gambling industries, including technological innovation, widespread marketing, and suppliers posing as part of the solution to the problem Disclose any negative side effects, and make the decision to smoke or gamble a personal choice. (Another legal vice, alcohol, was later introduced in a similar way.)

Jim Orford, a former professor of clinical and community psychology at the University of Birmingham in England, went on to talk about how widespread legal overseas betting has become over the past 60+ years.

“When I was a youngster, the only way to bet was on horse racing, and it was illegal to bet on horse racing off the track,” he said, noting how attitudes toward gambling shifted from “tolerated” to “normalized.” and “commercialized” in the early 21st century.

In a common theme during the three-hour discussion, Orford regretted that so much gambling industry money had allegedly funded independent research and news reporting, and he included science as an area that could be infiltrated by such funding. He concluded by urging the UK to rewrite its gambling laws to “recognize that gambling is not an ordinary business” but an addictive one.

“Shame and Stigma”

In a moving testimony, panelist Liz Ritchie, whose son Jack committed suicide at age 24 while struggling to gamble, lamented how little information she received as a parent about the potential harms of gambling. She then noted that he clarified in her son’s suicide note that “it was gambling” that motivated him to kill himself and that he felt “he was never going to recover and felt it was all his fault.”

She then spoke of a “switching in the brain when gambling goes from a voluntary interest to an involuntary compulsion” and called it “a serious psychiatric illness”.

Next up was Will Porchaska, Ritchie’s colleague at the Gambling With Lives organization. Like other panelists, he criticized RG Messaging’s emphasis on personal responsibility and the notion that gambling is a behavior that can be easily controlled by most people, adding that “the responsible gambling narrative affects people suffering from a mental disorder.” Suffering from disease shames and stigmatizes disorder.”

Recovering gambling addict and current gambling consultant, Harry Levant, concluded the discussion by saying that his ultimate goal was to “dismantle responsible gambling” and replace it with a public health approach, something that would require explicitly labeling gambling as addictive or addictive harmful to a large population could involve swathes of population rather than a smaller, high-risk percentage.

A difference in approach

Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, was among the audience on Wednesday. When asked about Porchaska’s “shame and stigma” quote and whether the industry and its regulators could do better to clarify that gambling addiction is a mental disorder, Whyte said sports grip, “We can always do better to raise public awareness of problem gambling as a preventable, treatable disorder. However, there is certainly an individual responsibility as well and I don’t think RG messages done right put people with gambling problems to shame.”

Noting the proliferation of national and state emergency numbers as part of the RG/PG work, Whyte added: “We are working hard to make sure help and hope are available and to let people know there is help and hope . The vast majority of people with gambling problems that we speak to support the responsible gambling messages and work on these campaigns – and we incorporate their feedback. To say that responsible gambling messages are designed to stigmatize people is false on the face of it, but also fails to recognize that much of it comes from groups like ours, which include people in recovery.”

In terms of working with betting companies and other pro-betting forces to spread the word, Whyte said: “I think we’re taking a public health approach. I just think it looks very different than what people in this webinar believe. I believe that everyone is a stakeholder and you must pursue all levers, which includes working with the gaming industry as well as with state governments. We try to organize all the different groups that have a role to play.

“I strongly believe that our RG and PG efforts are very clearly aligned with a mainstream public health approach. We don’t work with industry because they force us to or we have to, we do it because we want to.”

https://sportshandle.com/whats-wrong-with-responsible-gambling/ What’s wrong with responsible gaming?


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