Contentious Issues and Future Directions in Adolescent Gambling Research

Paul Delfabbro, Daniel L. King

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Background. There is currently considerable public policy and regulatory interest in the nature and prevalence of underage gambling. Research in this area has purported to show that adolescents are at elevated risk of problem gambling and that early exposure to gambling or gambling-like activities could be a potential precursor to future harm. Method. In this commentary, we provide a critical appraisal of these arguments with reference to major studies in the field of gambling studies. It is argued that adolescent gambling research is a contentious area. Some questions remain concerning the validity of adolescent problem gambling measures, the strength of the association between adolescent and adult gambling and the impact of simulated gambling activities. Results. The paper summarises the conceptual and methodological issues that should be considered and addressed in future studies to strengthen the validity of research in this area. Conclusion. The paper encourages the greater use of harm-based measures, longitudinal and individual-level transition analyses and questions that capture the influence of activities rather than just their temporal sequencing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11482
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Adolescent gambling
  • Development
  • Methodology
  • Problem gambling


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