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4 Increased understanding of the effects of product characteristics and environment

An effective harm minimisation strategy needs to address not only the individual player, but also features of the product (stake size, speed of play, volatility and so on) and the environment in which play is offered (opening hours, location, layout etc).

It should be conscious of the interaction between any of these factors, and recognise the potentially varying levels of risk associated with different gambling activities. The Responsible Gambling Trust has recently commissioned an international evidence review of product-based harm minimisation, which will report in autumn 2016.

A continued research programme is necessary to increase understanding of these issues across a range of products and environments, not least in response to a body of opinion which suggests that gaming machine play can have particularly harmful effects for some individuals. The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board will shortly be convening a meeting of relevant stakeholders to discuss the precise research questions which such a programme could most effectively address, and the best means of doing so.

Lead responsibility: Responsible Gambling Trust and Responsible Gambling Strategy Board.

Indicative timescale:  A priority will be to apply the findings of the international literature review on product-based harm to the issue of stakes and prizes on machines (though the review may come too late to influence the next triennial review). Wider application should be a focus of research, pilot projects and evaluation over the course of the strategy period.

Indicator of success: Increased understanding of the relevance of different environments and product characteristics and the impact they have on gambling-related harm.

Relevant to: Priority objectives I and V.