The Science Behind the Guidelines
While developing the Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines, the development team conducted several research projects in support of their work. The following table describes the research projects and provides a link to publications where more information can be found.
If you have questions about these projects, please complete the Contact Us form to submit your inquiry.
Methods and Results
|Research protocol||The research protocol was developed in 2016 and published in 2018.||Currie, S. R., & Low Risk Gambling Guidelines Scientific Working Group. (2019). A research plan to define Canada’s first low-risk gambling guidelines. Health Promotion International, 34(6), 1207–1217.|
|Risk curve analyses||Receiver operator curves plotting gambling involvement (i.e., percentage of monthly household income, frequency per month and number of gambling types played in last year) compared with gambling related harms (as defined by items on the Problem Gambling Severity Index) were developed for 11 representative population datasets from eight countries.|
Each curve generated a lower limit by applying the Youden Index and a higher limit by maximizing specificity, while ensuring that sensitivity was fixed at 0.5 or higher.
The ranges were collectively analyzed using a modal analysis and an assessment of the mean of the upper and lower range limits to develop an overall range. Overall range validation was conducted via visual inspection of each risk curve.
|Hodgins, D. C., Young, M. M., Currie, S. R., Abbott, M., Billi, R., Brunelle, N., … Nadeau, L. (2022). Lower-risk gambling limits: linked analyses across eight countries, International Gambling Studies, 1-17.|
|Assessing cumulative change in risk of harm across the range of possible gambling limits||Calculated how the cumulative change in risk of experiencing gambling-related harms (e.g., financial, relationship, emotional and psychological, health) increases incrementally as the limit for gambling involvement (i.e., percentage, frequency, and gambling types) increases.||Young, M. M., Hodgins, D. C., Currie, S. R., Brunelle, N., Dufour, M., Flores-Pajot, M.-C., Nadeau, L. (2022). Not too much, not too often, and not too many: the results of the first large-scale, international project to develop lower-risk gambling guidelines. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.|
|Online survey of gambling||In collaboration with the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, survey responses from a sample of people who regularly gamble were recruited from a pool of online panelists associated with the survey firm Leger360.|
Phase I responses were collected in August 2018 (n=10,054).
Phase II responses were collected in August 2019 via a follow-up survey of those who completed Phase I (n=4,707).
|Currie, S. R., Brunelle, N., Dufour, M., Flores-Pajot, M.-C., Hodgins, D., Nadeau, L., & Young, M. (2020). Use of self-control strategies for managing gambling habits leads to less harm in regular gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies. 36(2), 685–698.|
Young, M. M., Hodgins, D. C., Currie, S. R., Brunelle, N., Dufour, M., Flores-Pajot, M.-C., & Nadeau, L. Not too much, not too often, and not too many: the results of the first large-scale, international project to develop lower-risk gambling guidelines. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-022-00896-w
|Interviews and focus groups with people who gamble||Among the 10,054 participants who completed Phase I of the online survey, 5,018 reported using one self-control strategy at least sometimes. Among these respondents 56 people (27 males and 29 females) participated in nine focus groups and five individual interviews in Montreal (in French), Calgary and Toronto (in English). Each participant reported gambling more than once in the month before the survey was administered.||Flores-Pajot, M.-C., Atif, S., Dufour, M., Brunelle, N., Currie, S. R., Hodgins, D. C., Nadeau, L., & Young, M. M. (2021). Gambling self-control strategies: A qualitative analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(2), Article 586.|
|Literature review and meta-analysis of special risk populations and contextual factors associated with risk of problem gambling||A systematic search of the published and grey literature was conducted to identify all population prevalence surveys conducted world-wide until March 2019. In total, 255 studies were identified, of which 181 contained information about problem gambling correlates useful for analyses.|
Of those, 104 contained information sufficient to meta-analyze and calculate an odds ratio, reflecting the size of the bivariate relationship between the correlate and problem gambling.
|Allami, Y., Hodgins, D.C., Young, M., Brunelle, N., Currie, S., Dufour, M., Flores-Pajot, M., & Nadeau, L. (2021). A meta-analysis of problem gambling risk factors in the general adult population. Addiction, 116, 2968–2977. |
Research conducted by others (note this list should not be considered comprehensive)
Jonsson, J., Hodgins, D. C., Lyckberg, A., Currie, S., Young, M. M., Pallesen, S., & Carlbring, P. (2022). In search of lower risk gambling levels using behavioral data from a gambling monopolist, Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 11(3), 890-899.
Rochester, E. & Cunningham, J. A. (2023). Applying the Canadian low-risk gambling guidelines to gambling harm reduction in England. Journal of Gambling Studies.
The Behavioural Insights Team. (2022, Sept. 9). Lower-risk gambling guidelines [PDF of PowerPoint slides). Author. https://www.bi.team/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/FINAL-BIT-experiment-results-Lower-risk-gambling-guidelines.pdf