Responsible for responsible gambling

Governments worldwide were increasingly taking control of gambling activities. We now know the underlying reason. Almost all of them placed the responsibility for this control with the controlling (semi-) government agencies and gambling operators. They had to (and must) protect citizens against gambling-related damage.

These authorities and entrepreneurs all gave their own interpretation. Numerous studies have been carried out. And gambling operators took many initiatives aimed at responsible gambling. However, after studying many studies, the anthropologists conclude that there is still little clarity about the causes of problematic gambling. Or that at least among scientists there is a lot of criticism of each other’s conclusions.

Cultural differences per country

An important part of the differences in conclusions can be attributed to cultural differences. We wrote about that before. In one country or continent, players mainly engage in slot machines, while in another, people mainly participate in lotteries or bet on sports. The sources of gambling income therefore differ from country to country. But also the environment and thus the influences on, for example, gambling addiction.

After all, it makes a difference whether you are in a casino, with friends around you, playing a slot machine, in a cafe with a beer in your hand or at home behind your PC. And where in the Netherlands you can buy a state lottery ticket on every corner of the street, and find other entertainment, you have to go a long way through the snow in Lapland. Thanks to online it all becomes easier, but the physical environment continues to play an important role.

And that, according to some anthropologists, is not always properly valued. That does not have to be a problem with local research. But it goes without saying that this is the case with the worldwide takeover of a resolving initiative against limiting problematic gambling.

Health care

Governments, several researchers note, have thus increasingly taken control of gambling activities in recent years. An important reason for this is the gambling income that contributes to the economy. They gained control with the main argument of preventing gambling damage to the inhabitants. However, there are major differences in approach, based on major differences in research conclusions. Too little account is taken of cultural (gambling) differences .

But despite the differences in approach and conclusions from research, gambling has gradually become part of public health in almost all countries. While you would think that gambling belongs to the economy or a ministry of sports and recreation. By making it part of public health, the emphasis will be on preventing and / or treating problem gambling and gambling addiction. And not the pleasure of the majority of residents playing slots, a game of roulette or waiting for the outcome of a sports bet or lottery.


Over the past five years, this has resulted in more and more criticism of government policy. This criticism differs per country, based on the measures taken. But there is also general criticism. In addition, even researchers point to the methods of research into problematic gambling, for example. They believe that too much research takes place in isolated situations, where a gambling environment has been artificially simulated. There is therefore little or no realistic gambling environment.

Another point of criticism is the still ambiguous definition of ‘responsible gambling’. After all, that is the vague concept under which many governments, often equally vague, want to regulate matters such as problem gambling, gambling addiction and the like. Due to the lack of clarity, treatment in one country is in the hands of a GGD or addiction aid agency , while in another country a psychiatrist comes directly into the picture. Incidentally, the fact that in some countries research is directed from a specialism such as psychiatry also leads to objections. The criticism is then ‘heavy artillery and preaching for your own parish’.


Recent history has seen a shift worldwide towards greater government control. With, perhaps under false pretenses, a great deal of attention for problematic gambling behavior. In recent years, there has been more criticism of that attention. That does not alter the fact that governments must protect their residents against gambling-related damage. They mainly placed the responsibility for this on gambling authorities, various online gambling operators and of course the player himself.

The worldwide discussion will continue for a while. In the meantime, gambling entrepreneurs continue to change history with new or modified games grand dragon lotto, thanks to ongoing technological developments. And the vast majority of players look for fun at a game of poker , a bet or the push of a button on a slot machine without problematic consequences .

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