About the Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines

The Challenge

Problem gambling has been recognized as a significant public health issue. Although legal, gambling presents potential risks to Canadians. Until now, there were no evidence-informed guidelines to help people who gamble do so in a way that lessens their risk of harms related to gambling.

The Response

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) led the development of the world’s first Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines. These guidelines will help Canadians make informed decisions about their gambling.

The guidelines will also be an asset to those who implement programs aimed at reducing gambling-related harms or promoting public health. They provide consistent, evidence-informed advice and messaging about how to gamble in a lower-risk manner.

Who Will the Gambling Guidelines Help?

The Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines are intended to assist a wide variety of audiences, including:

  • Anyone who gambles or has friends or family who gamble;
  • Policy makers, regulators or others dedicated to reducing the harm associated with gambling;
  • Those developing training materials and capacity-building programs for healthcare providers and allied professionals on how to identify risky gambling behaviour; and
  • Those developing awareness campaigns to inform the public about lower-risk gambling.

Developing the Guidelines

In April 2016, CCSA began work on the Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines. In developing the guidelines, CCSA used a collaborative, evidence-informed approach similar to that used to produce Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and the Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines. Funding for this project was provided by Mise sur toi.

The Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines Scientific Working Group (LRGG-SWG) was established in July 2016 to oversee the project, provide advice and conduct research to support the guidelines. The working group is composed of experts in the fields of gambling and substance use. It began by developing and publishing a research plan in the journal, Health Promotion International.

After four years of consultation and research, the LRGG-SWG has developed a recommended set of quantitative limits for gambling, identified special risk populations and contextual factors, and produced other information to include in public health messaging about gambling in a lower-risk manner.

To develop the guidelines and associated material, CCSA and the LRGG-SWG:

  • Conducted more than 260 risk curve analyses involving over 60,000 people from eight countries who gamble;
  • Solicited feedback from more than 10,000 Canadians via an online gambling survey administered twice;
  • Conducted a series of interviews and focus groups with more than 50 people from across Canada who gamble;
  • Performed two comprehensive literature reviews;
  • Consulted a pan-Canadian, multi-sectoral advisory committee of more than 20 members; and
  • Collaborated with an international group of experts made up of the some of the top gambling researchers in the world.

Promote the Guidelines!

Help spread the word! Learn more about the different ways you can help promote the Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines.

Promoting the Gambling Guidelines