Gambling is an activity that causes considerable harm to many Australians due to its negative impact on individuals, families and communities through problem gambling. It is essential that gambling and problem gambling 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. Recognising the critical role of psychology in addressing this important public issue, in 1997 the APS developed a Position Paper, Psychological aspects of gambling behaviour.
Much has changed in the subsequent decade – opportunities for gambling have expanded and embraced sophisticated new technologies, the scientific understanding of gambling behaviour has grown, and problem gambling has become acknowledged as both a public health and mental health issue. The APS has consequently commissioned a new Review Paper, which provides an overview of major developments in understanding gambling from a psychological perspective.
A special report based on material in the Review Paper was published in the December 2010 edition of InPsych.