Commercial gambling is a recent historical phenomenon. It has developed into a profitable industry that supplies a range of recreational activities to its customers, and is a significant way of collecting money from players to distribute to companies, state budgets, and other beneficiaries. Many of these are civil society organizations, using the money for producing services in sports, culture, social work, and health care. However, gambling can also develop into pathological behaviour.

Using a public interest framework, this book discusses the policies that will best serve the public good and minimize individual and collective harms. After describing the historical context of the gambling and the current global burden of the activity, available methods of regulating the industry are evaluated using the available scientific evidence. By analysing the effectiveness of gambling policies and their alignment with the public interest, the epidemiological obstacles to successful regulation are considered in detail. There is good evidence for the effectiveness of restrictions on availability and access, but preventing gambling-related harm is not possible without limiting the overall volume of the activity, and hence the profits for the gambling industry and governments.

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