Responsible gambling codes of conduct: lack of harm minimisation intervention in the context of venue self-regulation

Angela Rintoul, Julie Deblaquiere, Anna Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct (CoC) are used around the world to describe electronic gambling machine (EGM) operator commitments to reducing harm from gambling. In addition to the provision of passive product information and warnings, CoC describe how venues should assist EGM users displaying signs of problematic gambling. The focus in this paper is on venue adherence to the active strategies described in these documents relating to supporting ‘responsible gambling’ and discouraging harmful, intensive and extended gambling. The paper triangulates data from aspirational statements by EGM operators published in CoC documents; structured, unannounced observations by the research team in 11 EGM venues; and interviews and focus groups conducted with 40 gamblers and 20 professionals in Melbourne, Australia. Results showed only isolated evidence of supportive interactions between staff and gamblers to address gambling harm. The weight of evidence demonstrated that venues often fail to respond to signs of gambling problems and instead encourage continued gambling in contradiction of their CoC responsibilities. Signs of gambling problems are a normalised feature of EGM use in these venues. To genuinely address this public health and public policy challenge, improved consumer protection for gamblers may be achieved through legislation requiring venues to respond to signs of gambling problems. This may include a range of measures such as banning food and beverage service at machines and limiting withdrawals of cash by gamblers, as well as using behavioural tracking algorithms to identify problematic gambling patterns and binding universal pre-commitment systems to complement supportive interventions by venue staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-461
Number of pages11
JournalAddiction Research & Theory
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2017


  • codes of conduct
  • Electronic gambling machines
  • harm minimisation
  • responsible gambling
  • self-regulation

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