Informed Choice and Gambling: Principles for Consumer Protection

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Alex Blaszczynski
Robert Ladouceur
Lia Nower
Howard Shaffer


It is well-established that problem gambling results, in part, from erroneous perceptions about the probability of winning. While individuals retain the ultimate responsibility over gambling choices and level of participation, optimal decision-making depends, among other factors, on the availability of reliable, comprehensive information. From a public health perspective, the gaming industry, in collaboration with government and the community, must ensure that individuals receive sufficient information to enable them to make responsible gambling choices.  This paper reviews key decision-making models and posits four primary goals that will lead to optimal choices in gambling: (a) the provision of relevant and objective information; (b) elucidation of the benefits of responsible gambling as well as potential social and personal costs of excessive gambling; (c) additional materials targeted to specific gambling subgroups; and (d) the use of a variety of communication mediums to disseminate materials. Implications for further research and public information campaigns are discussed.

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