Lower-Risk Gambling Limits: Linked Analyses Across Eight Countries


  • Prepared By: David C. Hodgins, Matthew M. Young, Shawn R. Currie, Max Abbott, Rosa Billi, Natacha Brunelle, Jean-Michel Costes, Magali Dufour, Marie-Claire Flores-Pajot, Daniel T. Olason, Catherine Paradis, Ulla Romild, Anne Salonen, Rachel Volberg, & Louise Nadeau
  • Release Date: November 30, 2022

A common public health initiative in many jurisdictions is provision of advice to people to limit gambling to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm. The purpose of this study is to use consistent methodology with existing population-based prevalence surveys of gambling and related harms from different countries to identify quantitative limits for lower-risk gambling. Risk curve analyses were conducted with eleven high-quality data sets from eight Western countries. Gambling indicators were monthly expenditure, percentage of income spent on gambling, monthly frequency, and number of different types of gambling. Harm indicators included financial, emotional, health, and relationship impacts. Contributing data sets produced limit ranges for each gambling indicator and each harm indicator, which were compared. Gender differences in limit ranges were minor. Modal analysis, an assessment of the mean of the upper and lower range limits, indicated that the risk of harm increases if an individual gambles at these levels or greater: $60 to $120 CAD monthly, five to eight times monthly, spends more than 1 to 3% of gross monthly income or plays three to four different gambling types. This study provides further evidence that lower-risk gambling guidelines can be based upon empirically derived limits.

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