Gambling is an activity that can cause considerable harm to individuals, families and communities. It is essential that gambling and gambling-related harm are well understood, and that the regulation of gambling – at individual, community, industry and government levels – is well informed. Psychology, as a science and profession, has much to contribute to understanding gambling from the perspectives of theory, research and practice.
In recent years opportunities for gambling have expanded and embraced sophisticated new technologies, the scientific understanding of gambling behaviour has grown, and gambling-related harm has become acknowledged as both a public health and mental health issue. The APS has consequently developed a number of resources, including a Position Statement and Review Paper, based on major developments in understanding gambling from a psychological perspective.
Gambling is a significant public health concern associated not only with financial losses but depression, self-harm and anxiety. Also, it is estimated that for every one person with a gambling problem, five to ten other people are affected by it. We need to look at the impact of gambling on society as a whole, and what we can do to reduce the potential for gambling-related harm. The evidence shows strong consumer protection measures are needed to help people manage their gambling. Governments need to exercise their social responsibility to protect the public from gambling products that cause harm.
Gambling-related harm (2012)
The psychology of gambling (Nov 2010)
These and other APS Positon Statements and Review Papers developed in the public interest can be found here.