Gambling, Society and the Evolution of Risk-Taking


Series: Safety and Risk in Society
BISAC: BUS070110

Gambling is emerging as a major industry around the world at a time when many of the more traditional economic pursuits are becoming less productive, but while the burgeoning gambling industry is certainly profitable and provides good investment opportunities and economic benefits for business and communities alike, it is timely that we look more closely at the overall benefits and costs of this phenomenon in modern society.

In this book about the modern gambling business, a motif of the Colorado River and the Boulder/Hoover Dam is explored in the opening section, likening the benefits and risks of gambling to those of the damning of the Colorado to irrigate California. There can be no doubt that the project wrested many Americans from poverty and unemployment in the depression, built a world-leading engineering structure that served to help the desert bloom, so to speak, including, of course, the re-making of Las Vegas. With the wisdom of hindsight and our increasing environmental awareness, the choking of the Colorado has had its downsides as does the gambling industry as we already know.

From the metaphorical re-examination of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, this current book focuses on some of the central aspects of the gambling industry in Australia and around the world, exploring how the industry is traveling in the 21st Century and asking why we are becoming so pre-occupied at this time with the processes of gambling. The prevalence of problem gambling is discussed; the numbers and how they are measured, along with various approaches to treatment and remediation for people affected adversely by their gambling behaviour.

Beyond the ‘bricks and mortar’ gambling and the electronic gaming machines of the latter part of the twentieth century, however, the development of new on-line gambling technologies is introducing different types of products, inducting new consumers to gambling products, changing the face of gambling in society, driving greater profits and potentially spawning more associated problems. While we are still struggling to understand the mechanisms through which more traditional gambling mechanisms affect consumers of these products and how best to remediate or treat such problems, a new form of the gambling phenomenon is being loosed upon modern consumers.

To return to the Hoover Dam metaphor; perhaps this new flood will be too strong for the dam or perhaps it will bring profits and benefits for all concerned. Before we can arrive at a decision about such potential costs and benefits, however, it will be important for us to see just whose money fuels this next phase of industry expansion and whether the profits of the industry are won at the cost of people with gambling problems; people who can’t afford to play the game, let along lose. Will the players in Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vegas, Atlantic City, Sydney and other emerging markets in Asia, along with the new generation of consumers of on-line gambling products, at the end of the day see that their play has been worth the price paid or will the losses to individuals and communities out-weigh the benefits that flow, paradoxically, from this complex industry? (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 – Lessons from Initiatives in Problem Gambling Treatment and Research (pp. 1-2)

Chapter 2 – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Now: A Wider Perspective on the Gambling World (pp. 3-14)

Chapter 3 – Capital and Craving: Market Capitalism and the Burgeoning Gambling Industry (pp. 15-22)

Chapter 4 – The Complex Phenomenon of Disordered Gambling (pp. 23-30)

Chapter 5 – The Life Impact of Problem Gambling: An Individual Case Study of Recovery (pp. 31-36)

Chapter 6 – Assessing the Prevalence of Problematic Gambling (pp. 36-40)

Chapter 7 – Service Developments in the Treatment of Gambling Disorder (pp. 41-46)

Chapter 8 – Harm Creation and Mitigation: The Emerging Business of Gambling Addiction (pp. 47-56)

Chapter 9 – Historical Context of a State-Wide Gambling Therapy Service (pp. 57-64)

Chapter 10 – Naltrexone in the Treatment of Gambling Disorders (pp. 65-82)

Chapter 11 – Gambling in Aboriginal Communities (pp. 83-94)

Chapter 12 – The Rural Context (pp. 95-98)

Chapter 13 – Efficacy of Cognitive and Exposure Therapy in the Treatment of Gambling Disorder (pp. 99-112)

Chapter 14 – Modelling Longitudinal Outcomes of a Treatment Program (pp. 113-122)

Chapter 15 – Adapting Self-Management Principles in Relapse Prevention in Gambling (pp. 123-128)

Chapter 16 – On-Line Gambling and the Emergence of New Consumers of Gambling Products (pp. 129-130)

Chapter 17 – Fiddling While Rome Burns (pp. 131-132)

Chapter 18 – The 2014 European Association for the Study of Gambling Conference (pp. 133-136)


Authors Contact Information

Index 161

The book is written as an overview for people working in the gambling industry and for health professionals providing treatment and support for people with gambling problems.

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