September 25, 2023 3 min read


Public Health Experts Lambast Gambling Companies’ Underhanded Tactics

The multinational panel called for governments to adopt measures similar to those used for tobacco control, emphasizing the need to protect public health

In a scathing editorial published in the journal Health Promotion International, a consortium of twelve public health experts has raised concerns about the tactics employed by gambling companies. The academics likened these strategies to the ones used by the tobacco industry, arguing that these companies are funding research into the harms of their activities while simultaneously engaging in lobbying efforts to soften regulatory measures. 

Australia’s Recent Controversies Illustrate the Issue

According to the publication, governments should consider approaching the gambling industry with the same scrutiny and regulation as the tobacco sector. The World Health Organization forces countries to impose strict control over the tobacco industry, protecting international health policies from its commercial and vested interests. 

The academics contend that the gambling industry mirrors the tobacco sector’s behavior by attempting to influence public opinion and policy through research funding and lobbying. A recent case criticized the University of Sydney for establishing a new gambling research center directly funded by gambling giants Sportsbet, Entain Australia, and the International Centre for Responsible Gaming, whose sponsors include some of the world’s largest casinos.

The industry has lobbied all levels of government with few constraints and regularly funds academic research either directly or indirectly.

Health Promotion International editorial

As the Australian government rallied to introduce stricter gambling regulations and combat the rise in gambling harm, gambling companies have intensified their lobbying efforts. They allegedly used organizations like Responsible Wagering Australia to weaken proposed changes and downplay the dangers of problem gaming. The academics argue that such practices are commonplace and should face unscrupulous scrutiny.

Effective Regulation and Cooperation Remain Paramount

The publication notes that the only reliable way to curb unethical practices within the gambling world would be to apply similar restrictions to tobacco and alcohol. It recommends governments take measures to curtail the gambling companies’ ability to interact with science and public health policy. Such efforts should include avoiding all involvement with industry-sponsored partnerships and protecting the public from harm.

Despite the editorial’s harsh stance, jurisdictions worldwide have proven that effective regulation is possible even without such draconian measures. Spain, Sweden, and Ontario demonstrate that operators can remain profitable despite restrictions and cooperate with authorities to minimize gambling harm. However, many other markets like Australia still suffer from ineffective regulations and direly need reforms.

The concerns of these public health experts remain valid, as without adequate oversight, unscrupulous businesses in any industry will often disregard public safety to chase profit margins. By drawing parallels between the tactics of gambling companies and the tobacco industry, the publication calls for governments to better safeguard public health policies from commercial interests, ensuring policies protect consumers rather than large businesses.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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