With today being World Mental Health Day, it’s a great time to reflect on current safer gambling messaging and the lack of emphasis that is placed on mental health.
From time to time there will be messaging highlighting the dangers of gambling while dealing with other emotional or life issues, but the bulk of the focus remains on setting limits for time and spend.
This is a missed opportunity and is the #1 thing that I believe needs to change if we are to move towards effective and impactful responsible gambling messaging.
I believe a shift towards emphasizing the impacts of mental health on our gambling behaviors would not only help the intended target audience, but also the messenger.
“How can it help operators and the industry as a whole?” you might ask.
Well, starting the discussion on the relationship between an individual’s mental health and their gambling behaviors would highlight the complexity that is addiction, forcing a much wider discussion about what changes can and should be made to address problem gambling.
So much of the current focus is on the products themselves, without discussion of how our growing mental health epidemic might also be contribution to the issues.
While gambling products and their design can play a contributing role in the development of gambling disorder, there are clearly other factors involved, with mental health struggles likely at the top of the list.
There are plenty of things that the gambling industry can and should address such as advertising practices, harm identification, customer interactions, and product design. However, the industry can’t do everything.
Successful safer gambling will require all stakeholders to up their game and this includes consumers better understanding the relationship between their mental health and their gambling behavior.
While there is so much more to share on this topic, I’ll need to save it for another day. It’s Sunday afternoon and my Cleveland Browns have a marquee matchup against the LA Chargers.