An Unsafe Bet? The Dangerous Rise of Gambling and the Debate We Should Be Having

An Unsafe Bet? The Dangerous Rise of Gambling and the Debate We Should Be Having

An Unsafe Bet? The Dangerous Rise of Gambling and the Debate We Should Be Having

An Unsafe Bet? The Dangerous Rise of Gambling and the Debate We Should Be Having

Synopsis

An Unsafe Bet? The D angerous R ise of G ambling and the D ebate W e S hould B e H aving reveals how gambling represents a danger to public health due to its inherent addiction potential, which is being intentionally downplayed by the gambling industry and governments.
  • Lays bare the extent of gambling and its effects on society
  • Exposes the dilemma for policy makers, who are charged with protecting public health but also increasingly dependent on revenues earned from gambling
  • Written by Jim Orford, an internationally respected authority on the topic
  • International examples broaden the argument and reveal the global stakes involved

Excerpt

I have written this book because I thought it was needed. I am continually surprised how little challenge there has been to the dramatic liberalisation of the gambling laws and the expansion of opportunities for gambling that have taken place in quite a short period of years. That must surely be attributed to lobbying for expansion by the gambling industry, the desperation of governments to cash in on the proceeds whilst not appreciating the threat that gambling expansion poses for public health, and the absence of well-informed public debate about the issues. I have been horrified, also, by the complicity of those who should be in a position to mount a challenge: practitioners, academics, and their organisations, who are active in the field. As a clinical and research psychologist I have heard directly from people about the destructive potential of gambling. Like countless numbers of people in the past, in the present and no doubt in the future, I have also witnessed the dangers of gambling at close hand in my own personal life. In this book I have tried to summarise the argument that: opportunities for gambling have been growing fast; gambling is dangerous because it can be addictive; the place of gambling in society is controversial; and there is a failure to challenge gambling expansion and to engage in the kind of debate we should be having. I hope it will make a contribution to raising awareness of the issues and stimulating debate.

Part I sets the scene by summarising facts about the expansion of gambling in the late twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. Chapter 1 takes a global perspective, briefly summarising gambling in three regions: Australia, New Zealand and East Asia; North America; and Europe. References to different countries recur throughout the book and my main line of reasoning – that gambling is dangerous and that not to challenge its expansion represents a serious shortcoming – applies to many countries besides my own. Britain is my main concern, however, and a number of chapters focus on the situation in Britain. Chapter 2 is one of those, summarising some of the facts about the legislative and regulatory gambling framework in Britain and the gambling habits of its citizens.

Part II is all about addiction and is applicable wherever gambling takes place. It is divided into three chapters. Chapter 3 summarises the accumulated evidence . . .

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