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Minimising the impact of gambling in the subtle degradation of democratic systems 1

Peter James Adams


Gambling can harm a society's social and economic systems and negatively affect its political ecology. If not protected, democratic processes and institutions in jurisdictions with high levels of gambling are likely to undergo a progressive, cumulative degradation of function. These subtle, diffuse distortions result when a broad variety of individuals, working in isolation and reacting to pressures from gambling providers, incrementally compromise their roles and responsibilities. This article examines how these degradations can occur for people working in universities, government departments, media outlets, politics, and community organisations. It argues that any strategy to minimise harm from gambling should include explicit measures to protect the public from such distortions to democratic processes. The single most effective way to do this is to independently monitor people with public duties who have relationships to the beneficiaries of gambling consumption. The article concludes by proposing an international charter that sets benchmark standards for protecting a society from such degradations.

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