• Alex Blaszczynski School of Psychology, The University of Sydney
  • Adrian Parke University of Lincoln, School of Psychology, Lincoln
  • Andrew Harris University of Lincoln, School of Psychology, Lincoln
  • Jonathan Parkes Responsible Gambling Trust, London
  • Jane Rigbye Responsible Gambling Trust, London




Electronic Gaming Machines, Harm Minimisation, Pre-Commitment, Problem Gambling, Responsible Gambling, Self-Control.


Research indicates that gamblers frequently set self-imposed limits on how much time and money they wish to gamble in a given gambling session, yet consistently gamble more than initially intended. The emotional and arousing impact of gambling, as well as dissociative states gamblers experience whilst gambling, may contribute to this behavioural shift which reflects a failure in self-control. Essential then, is the need for harm minimisation strategies aimed at allowing a gambler to stay in control of their decisions and behaviour during gambling, whilst concurrently limiting the negative impact this may have on the gambling experience for those who frequently stay in control. The following article evaluates the use of limit setting and pre-commitment, the use of ‘cooling off’ periods, and restricting access to additional funds as harm minimisation strategies, in terms of their efficacy in facilitating self-control in problem and non-problem gambling populations. As with any potential mass intervention, such as the use of mandatory limit setting, the need for robust empirical evidence to prove its efficacy is essential. Existing research, while providing promise, falls short of this criterion, indicating a requirement for more stringent empirical research to best guide responsible gambling practices aimed at facilitating player control during gambling.


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