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Gambling as a public health issue: The critical role of the local environment

David Marshall


This paper discusses gambling as a public health concern and outlines why local circumstances are central to such concerns. Using the framework of compositional and contextual factors to frame discussions, it is argued that the local circumstances of individuals and communities are critical to whether gambling activity is problematic. Unlike other similar public health issues for which there are clear parameters defining what is a problem and how severe the problem is, it is argued here that gambling-related problems are determined almost entirely by the circumstances in which the activity is occurring. As such, strategies designed to prevent or minimise gambling-related problems should target the local contextual environment and not just focus on the gamblers themselves, as has tended to occur to date.


gambling; problem gambling; public health; contextual; compositional; local environment

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