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Gambling Harm Reduction

The aim of this new section of the Harm Reduction Journal is to present findings on harm reduction strategies and measures related to gambling. This section draws a wide perspective on gambling harm affecting the individual, concerned significant others, communities, and the societies that encompass them. It is not limited to Gambling Disorder, but considers the adverse consequences of gambling and its provision in all its dimensions.

Gambling has deep cultural roots in many societies and there are numerous examples of different regulatory regimes, both historical and modern, designed to prevent and reduce its resulting harms. Yet, with the digitalization and globalization of the gambling supply, gambling harm prevention and reduction strategies are in need of refitting.

We consider gambling to include any gamified activity, where something of worth is staked on an outcome that cannot be known beforehand. This includes games like poker, where an element of skill can have an effect on the outcome, and sports betting where a participants wager on contests of skill. With the convergence of gambling and gaming, the field of gambling harm has increased. Elements of gambling are involved in digital games, such as loot boxes, and game-like elements have become part of land-based and online electronic gambling.

Gambling harm reduction strategies can be implemented in various ways and are dependent on multiple individual and contextual factors. They can be categorized into individualized measures that support the individual gamblers to limit their gambling, and environmental strategies establishing conditions, where gambling is a less tempting option from the very start. Considering the devastating consequences that significant others of problem gamblers have to carry, they must also be considered in harm reduction measures.

Adhering to our encompassing understanding of gambling harm, harm reduction must also consider wider public health burdens of gambling. Thus, harm reduction is also an issue that needs to consider the use of the gambling profits by public actors, as well as the involvement of organized crime in gambling operations and sports betting. The confluence of the maturation of legal gambling markets in many countries resulted in improved data access. Sophisticated and varied analysis techniques and approaches have been developed in recent years in the gambling field. In addition, the growing concern of the public health implications of widespread gambling market expansion makes now a crucial time to establish a clear picture of the gambling harm reduction landscape. We hope you will join us in accomplishing this important task.

We invite submissions around but not limited to the following themes:

  • The applicability of a public health approach in gambling harm reduction.
  • The use of digital tools to reduce individual gambling harm. 
  • Low risk gambling strategies and limits.
  • Gambling harm reduction strategies in the health and social services. 
  • Harm reduction policies and strategies considering concerned significant others.
  • Gambling regulations and policies deterring game manipulation and the involvement of organized crime in the operation of gambling. 
  • The influence of the gambling industry on gambling research.
  • Harm reduction with a focus on indigenous and minority groups.

This section does not accept research funded directly by the private gambling industry.

Section Editor

A picture of co-section editor for gambling and harm reduction: Michael EgererDr Michael Egerer (Title of docent), is a University Researcher at the University of Helsinki Centre for Research on Addiction, Control, and Governance (CEACG). His research interests address gambling, gambling regulations and the concept of addiction. He is currently working on the adjustment of low-risk gambling guidelines for the Finnish context, as well as studying the opening of the new casino in Tampere, and the regulation of online gambling. Egerer is an expert in qualitative research methods. He is developing the application of sociological systems theory in the field of addiction and gambling research. Currently, Egerer serves as the vice-chair of the Finnish Association for Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Research.

Editorial Board Members

A picture of co-section editor for gambling and harm reduction: Michał BujalskiMichał Bujalski, PhD is a sociologist and Assistant Professor at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, University of Warsaw. His research interests focus on mental health, substance use, gambling, and suicide behaviours. He has been also involved in research on risk perception and risk communication, commercial determinants of health, and CSR practices of the harmful industries. His analytic perspective draws upon systems theory, new materialism, and risk concepts.

A picture of co-section editor for gambling and harm reduction: Edmond FehokoDr Edmond Fehoko, a Tongan, born and raised in New Zealand, has a Bachelor of Arts in (Social Sciences and Criminology), Master of Arts (Social Sciences) and in 2020, received his PhD in Public Health where he explored the Tongan male attitudes and experiences of gambling and problem gambling in Aotearoa New Zealand. Edmond has received multiple Health Research Council of New Zealand awards. Edmond is a Health Research Council Pacific Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Auckland, a Pacific Research Lead in a Marsden Funded project exploring barriers accessing Assisted Reproduction Technologies. Currently, Edmond is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago. Edmond is the Director of Fehoko Consultancy Ltd, which supports government departments and NGOs with research, evaluation, and better engagement with Pacific communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.

A picture of co-section editor for gambling and harm reduction: Aino SuomiAino Suomi, PhD, is a public health researcher and a psychologist with a specific focus on child and family wellbeing in the context of gambling harm. Her research has made a significant contribution to research, policy and service provision around family impacts of problem gambling, children of gambling parents, problem gambling and family violence, and help-seeking for gambling harm and co-morbid mental health conditions.

A picture of co-section editor for gambling and harm reduction: Mark MaasMark van der Maas, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Rutgers School of Social Work and core faculty member of the Center of Gambling Studies. His research focuses on detecting public health impacts of broad gambling market expansion and discussions of gambling on social media platforms. Dr. van der Maas also conducts research on alcohol use, ADHD, and traffic crashes. He also serves as associate editor for the Journal of Gambling Issues.  He received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2015 and held a postdoctoral fellowship from 2015-2019 at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research in Toronto.

Annual Journal Metrics

  • 2022 Citation Impact
    4.4 - 2-year Impact Factor
    4.8 - 5-year Impact Factor
    1.506 - SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper)
    1.414 - SJR (SCImago Journal Rank)

    2023 Speed
    7 days submission to first editorial decision for all manuscripts (Median)
    131 days submission to accept (Median)

    2023 Usage 
    4,628 Altmetric mentions