There are now signs that, after decades of phenomenal growth, the era of unrestrained gambling liberalisation may be coming to an end. However, the power of the Gambling Establishment is formidable, and it will certainly fight back. Drawing on research and policy examples from around the world, the book provides a unified understanding of the dangerousness of modern commercialised gambling, how its expansion has been deliberately or inadvertently supported, and how the backlash is now occurring.
The term Gambling Establishment is defined to include the industry which sells gambling, governments which support it, and a wider network of organisations and individuals who have subscribed to the ‘responsible gambling’ Establishment discourse. Topics covered include the psychology of how gambling is now being advertised and promoted and the way it is designed to deceive gamblers about their chances of winning; the increased exposure of young people to gambling and the alignment of gambling with sport; understanding the experience of gambling addiction; the various public health harms of gambling at individual, family, community and societal levels; and how evidence has been used to resist change. The book’s final chapter offers the author’s manifesto for policy change, designed with Britain particularly in mind but likely to have relevance elsewhere.
With detailed examples given of the ways a number of countries are responding to these threats to their citizens’ health, this book will be of global interest for academics, researchers, policymakers and service providers in the field of gambling or other addictions specifically, and public health and social policy generally.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
1. The new backlash against the growth of commercial gambling
2. The Gambling Establishment: The industry and its allies inside and outside government
3. The establishment discourse: Five ways we were told how to think about gambling
4. How gambling is forcibly advertised and sold in the modern era
5. Is modern gambling fraudulent? How players are deceived about the chances of winning
6. Understanding gambling addiction: Bringing personal experience and theory together
7. Gambling’s harm to individuals, families, communities, and society
8. How the Gambling Establishment has used evidence to support its position
9. Resisting the power of the Gambling Establishment: A manifesto for change
Jim Orford is Emeritus Professor of Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of Birmingham. He is a long-standing, internationally recognised researcher and writer in the fields of addiction and community psychology, one of the UK’s leading academics on the subject of gambling, and well-known for his critical views on policy. In 2012 he set up the Gambling Watch UK website to help campaign for a public health approach to gambling.
'The Gambling Establishment is in part a metaphor for the transformation of modern gambling into an anti-democratic process that transfers wealth from the poor to the rich. By virtue of its ability to engender behavioural addiction, modern gambling has become the moral equivalent of the tobacco industry. The good news is that the pendulum is beginning to swing back to a place where society and its most vulnerable members are at least being given a fair chance. Jim Orford’s masterful exposé of the Gambling Establishment provides an agenda of remedial proposals not only for the deplorable British gambling situation but also for the problems faced by other countries as well.' - Thomas F. Babor, Professor of Community Medicine and Public Health, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA
'This vital book is a rallying cry for change in how governments regulate gambling. It outlines in forensic detail the ways in which a powerful industry has exploited regulatory loopholes for unsustainable commercial gain. Orford lays bare the techniques of deception and marketing that have served the industry’s quest for limitless profit, and shows how unbridled gambling has damaged the lives of individuals, communities and the wider economy. This is a timely and determined book: it is a manifesto for radical change, and strengthens the case for a new British Gambling Act.' - Tom Watson, MP, Deputy Leader of the British Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
'A fascinating window on the world of commercial gambling, The Gambling Establishment comprehensively undoes the official narrative that gambling is good, clean fun and shows instead that it is both addictive and a threat to public health. Anyone wishing to understand how gambling has become so prevalent in our society must read this important book, which should be compulsory reading for all ministers and politicians.' - Rebecca Cassidy, Professor of Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London
'That Jim’s ideas on the regulation of gambling are no longer peripheral but now mainstream is testament to the strength of his philosophy. Where his voice was once marginalised, it is now the ideological centre of gravity. This intellectual paradigm shift away from locating blame with individuals and onto harmful products provided the justification for restrictions on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, and this book acts as a compelling manual for navigating this new context, particularly preparing for a potential backlash from the Gambling Establishment.' - Matt Zarb-Cousin, Spokesperson for the Stop the FOBTs campaign
'This is a comprehensive account of Big Gambling as it has become established in Britain and globally in recent decades, which details the social and health problems it has brought. Orford unmasks the deception about chances of winning often built into gambling machines and procedures. He dissects the arguments gambling interests and government agencies use to justify the new status quo. This is a thoughtful and comprehensive book presenting a compelling case for change.' - Robin Room, Professor, La Trobe University, Australia and Stockholm University, Sweden
'When we set up Gambling with Lives in 2018, Jim Orford was the first name that people mentioned when we wanted to know about gambling research. When we met we understood why he was so highly regarded: his knowledge was vast and in depth … and he was truly independent. More than that, he had personal experience of the impact that gambling addiction could have on individuals and families. Jim understood. His narrative and reflections on gambling are essential reading for anyone involved in wanting to tackle the harms that gambling does.' - Liz and Charles Ritchie, Co-chairs of Gambling with Lives
'Professor Orford continues to clearly raise the issues and need for reform in the gambling industry. This is a much needed and timely contribution which reinforces the urgent need for change as the UK edges towards the lip of a gambling epidemic.' - Lord Chadlington, Conservative Peer