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8 Education to prevent gambling-related harm

Too little is still known about the potential role of education in preventing or mitigating gambling-related harm, particularly in relation to children and young persons for whom damaging life-time patterns of behaviour can become established.

Experience in other fields suggests that education may prove to be one of the less effective forms of intervention.  But it should not be discarded as an option until it has been explored in more detail.

The Responsible Gambling Trust has recently commissioned an update of a 2008 literature review of children and young people’s gambling.  It has also issued an invitation to tender for research on young people, gambling and gambling-related harm. We suggest the Trust should in addition commission a systematic review of the role of education in preventing or inhibiting gambling-related harm to children and young persons, drawing on what is known about the effectiveness of education in other areas like alcohol and drug abuse, obesity or other public health programmes. The review should take account of possible insights from behavioural economics and other disciplines.

Lead responsibility: Responsible Gambling Trust.

Indicative timescale: Research to be completed by the end of 2016, with a clear strategic approach to the use of education as a harm minimisation tool to be established by the end of the strategy period.

Indicator of success: Completion of the systematic review of the role of education and decisions taken about how best to follow up its conclusions – either confirming useful steps that can be taken to deliver effective preventative education, or demonstrating that this approach does not represent value for money and allowing resources to be allocated to more productive interventions. 

Relevant to: Priority objectives I and IV.