International Gambling Think Tank
International Think Tank on Gambling Research, Policy and Practice
Vision (revised 2018)
An international network of researchers, policy makers, service providers and interested others collaborating to advance understanding of gambling and to reduce gambling-related harm.
Purpose (revised 2018)
- To address globally significant issues and developments in gambling policy, services and research
- To foster international collaboration
- To identify, develop and promote evidence-informed legislative frameworks, policies and practices to reduce gambling harm.
The Think Tank has been convened most years since 2004. Meetings occur biennially in Auckland, New Zealand. Satellite regional meetings have been held in Australia and Canada.
The meeting format is action oriented; short presentations on important topics to focus and stimulate discussion and plan key activities. Numbers are limited to 60 to facilitate discussion and group process.
The Think Tank is organised and coordinated by the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre (GARC) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in Auckland New Zealand. Co-hosts for satellite and subgroup meetings have included the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation in Australia, and Gambling Research Exchange Ontario and the Alberta Gambling Research Institute in Canada.
Prior to 2018, Think Tank meetings have been variously funded by the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, participant fees, the New Zealand Ministry of Health and, on some occasions, the New Zealand Lotteries Commission. Regional Think Tank meetings have been supported financially and in kind by co-hosts. From 2018, the Think Tank has not accepted funding from gambling industry bodies.
Membership and participation
New membership of the Think Tank is by application to the secretariat based at GARC.
Think Tank members receive invitations to the Think Tank meetings and events. Places are filled on a first come first served basis. Members also receive a newsletter summary of Think Tank proceedings. Diversity and major stakeholder engagement is sought including academics, service providers and users, officials and regulators. Presentation at the Think Tank is by invitation from the organising committee.
Brief history of the Think Tank
It was in May 2004 that the first Think Tank meeting was held in Auckland, New Zealand. In those days, the focus was on clinical services and the forum was called International Think Tank on Presenting Gambling Populations and First Contact Services. Reflecting this focus the vision was to provide a forum to address globally significant issues and developments in problem gambling policy, services and research in relation to presenting gambling populations and first contact services and it was jointly hosted by AUT and the New Zealand Gambling Problem Helpline. Sixty-five people from eight countries attended that inaugural meeting, agreeing on various topics including that the Think Tank should reconvene after 12 months. The second full meeting took place as scheduled in May 2005 in Auckland. However, an additional subgroup meeting was also convened in Alice Springs, Australia in November 2005.
Full Think Tank meetings continued to take place annually in Auckland and in 2008, participants agreed to change the Think Tank name to reflect the new purpose and direction of the Think Tank, which had moved away from a focus on treatment services to be more encompassing of gambling issues worldwide. A competition was held with participants submitting suggestions for the new name, which was chosen to be International Think Tank on Gambling Research, Policy and Practice. The vision became an international network of scientists, researchers, policy makers, service providers, socially concerned gambling industry members and interested others collaborating to advance understanding of gambling as an issue for public health and social/economic development.
From 2008, Auckland based Think Tank meetings became biennial and smaller regional Think Tank meetings were scheduled in the between years to make the Think Tank more internationally accessible. The first of these regional meetings was held in Melbourne, Australia in 2009 and was co-hosted by the Victorian Department of Justice and AUT. Subsequent regional meetings in 2013 and 2019 were held in Melbourne, and in 2015 and 2017 Canada (Toronto and Banff, respectively), co-hosted by prominent organisations in those areas.
It was at the Banff regional meeting that the Think Tank began to change its vision for the second time, again reflecting the changed environment for those trying to reduce and minimise gambling harm. At the subsequent Auckland 2018 meeting, the group agreed that the Think Tank should be more focused on public health and ethical practices. This has led to the current vision of an international network of scientists, researchers, policy makers, service providers, and interested others collaborating to advance understanding of gambling as a public health issue and to reduce gambling harm.