Program: 10 am- 11.30
Welcome Address: Dr. Chayada Thanavisuth, Dean Graduate School of Human Sciences
Key Note Speaker: Robert Ladouceur, Ph.D.,
Professeur Émérite/Professor Emeritus
École de Psychologie/School of Psychology,
2325, rue des Bibliothèques
Canada, G1V 0A6.
Title of the Speech: Understanding why people gamble and why some individuals will develop gambling-related problems: From fundamental issues to Prevention and Treatment”
AU Center of Excellence for Gambling Research, Graduate School of Human Sciences:
AU center of Excellence for Gambling Research is an initiative by the Graduate School of Human Sciences with the objective of studying the psychology of gambling from basic fundamental issues, to prevention, prevalence, and treatment issues.
There is an active debate currently raging among policymakers and academicians about whether gambling should be legalized in Thailand. Those in favor of legalization argue that this could lead to more tax revenue for the government and can promote tourism, with its resultant benefits such as creating job opportunities and boosting the economy, it can stop money laundering and reduce related crimes. Arguments against the legalization of gambling are that: if gambling were to be legalized, more people would gamble, and subsequently, more would become problem gamblers thus resulting in gambling-related harm to individuals, their families, and to society.
The attitude of the Thai public was both for and against legalization. Those who support legalization argue that gambling is widespread, and it could create more problems if banned/restricted and that the revenues from it could be channeled to boost the Thai economy and for social causes. Those who are against the legalization of gambling opined that the government should not encourage gambling as it is viewed as a vice and is against Buddhist precepts. Further, they also feel that encouraging gambling would send the wrong message to society, also leading to social problems such as poverty, debt, idleness, crime, and so on.
With the high rates of technological penetration and technical advancement, it can be reasonably argued that gambling-related problems will increase in Thailand. In this context, it is useful to conceptualize an appropriate public health response to gambling in Thailand. Much more needs to be done to raise the public’s awareness of the risks and harms of gambling, including by regulating advertisements and encouraging socially-responsible gambling. There also needs to be a more extensive provision of treatment services to gamblers and their affected family members. Given that young people are at high risk of gambling and related problems and comorbidity, any prevention program should target them. Lastly, it is high time the archaic laws regulating gambling in Thailand are revisited to make them more appropriate to the present day. Given the popularity of illegal gambling in Thailand, lawmakers and law enforcers should play a more active role in changing the landscape of illegal gambling.
AU center of excellence of gambling research will be aiming at a comprehensive strategy to counter gambling’s harms by conducting research, having collaboration with industries, and engage a wide range of stakeholders in its conceptualization and implementation including healthcare professionals, health policymakers and administrators, politicians, academics, researchers, and the general public.