Political decisions in the context of gambling continually evolve in response to technological advances, economic needs and changes in the social environment, but vulnerability to gambling-related harm remains constant.
The question that was addressed in this book was whether the statutory framework created by the Gambling Act 2005 and complemented by the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice incorporate sufficient safeguards to counterbalance the creation of an environment where gambling, although regulated, is universally available, omnipresent and frequently promoted by commercial marketing. The political decision to ‘normalise’ gambling and to position it alongside other forms of adult entertainment created an inevitable tension with the need to protect those who may suffer as a result. Within liberalised jurisdictions, commercial providers have legitimate expectations to be able to expand their businesses and to offer a variety of the increasingly enticing gambling games, while the protection of those in need usually requires the opposite. Due to the removal of the vast majority of restrictions, the prevention of gambling-related harm requires strong legal and social countermeasures. The joint effects of the opportunity theory1 and the total consumption model,2 introduced in the early parts of the book, means that the proliferation of gambling opportunities may lead to increases in gambling-related harm amongst the general population. This may affect children and young people whose cognitive abilities and impulse control are still underdeveloped due to their natural age and limited life experiences,3 but equally it may impact...
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