Reducing Internet Gambling Harms Using Behavioral Science: A Stakeholder Framework

11 Oct 2021

Internet gambling provides a unique environment with design mechanics and data-driven opportunities that can impact gambling-related harms. Some elements of Internet gambling including isolation, lack of interruption, and constant, easy access have been argued to pose specific risks. However, identifiable player accounts enable identification of behavioral risk markers and personalized private interfaces to push customized messages and interventions. The structural design of the Internet gambling environment (website or app) can have a strong influence on individual behavior. However, unlike land-based venues, Internet gambling has few specific policies outlining acceptable and unacceptable design practices. Harm minimization including responsible gambling frameworks typically include roles and responsibilities for multiple stakeholders including individual users, industry operators, government regulators, and community organizations. This paper presents a framework for how behavioral science principles can inform appropriate stakeholder actions to minimize Internet gambling-related harms. A customer journey through internet gambling demonstrates how a multidisciplinary nexus of collaborative effort may facilitate a reduction in harms associated with Internet gambling for consumers at all stages of risk. Collaborative efforts between stakeholders could result in the implementation of appropriate design strategies to assist individuals to make decisions and engage in healthy, sustainable behaviors.