Moving on from responsible gambling: a new discourse is needed to prevent and minimise harm from gambling

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Objectives: To address the current status of responsible gambling (RG) as the dominant discourse for reducing gambling harm. Study design: The article is a narrative review of relevant literature analysed discursively. Methods: We identified significant texts describing the discourse of RG and analysed these to extract major characteristics and themes of the discourse. These were then subjected to a critique, using the public health discourses as an alternative system for addressing gambling harm. Results: The discourse of RG is inadequate for preventing or minimising gambling harm. A public health–focused approach to prevent and minimise gambling harm is likely to be far more effective but will be opposed by vested interests. Conclusions: It is timely to consider abandoning the discourse of RG. This discourse has been discredited because of its complicity with vested interests and a lack of evidence to demonstrate its efficacy in preventing or reducing harm. A public health response to the prevention of gambling harm is feasible and practical and can and should be further developed and implemented rapidly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • gambling
  • harm prevention
  • Harm minimisation

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