This publication presents several stories related to gambling programs/treatments/strategies, but does not evaluate the success of these strategies to date. This lack of data makes the improvement of programs practically impossible. The same report points to the organization’s budget as a likely source of evidence insufficiencies. Research was the least funded aspect of the problem gambling campaign, and this simply isn’t acceptable if we hope to obtain an accurate measurement of the programs’ success. INEFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES While information regarding campaign effectiveness was hard to obtain, it can be inferred from the problem gambling treatment percentages mentioned at the beginning of this report. The “Know the Line” campaign was in progress when these rates increased, which points to its ineffectiveness as a problem gambling deterrent. One of the likely reasons for the lack of improvement is the broadness of the campaign. The Ministry of Community Development, Youth, and Sports published a report in 2008 that identifies several possible target groups, but puts the most emphasis on the risks associated with early gambling starting age. For a campaign to be effective it must be designed to address the population at highest risk. Young gamblers appear to be the highest risk according to the small amount of information that is available. One recent study (Lee, Guo, Manning, Thane, & Wong, 2011) supports this concept by identifying younger and more educated people as the newly prevailing demographic for problem gambling. This finding should be taken into account if the campaign strategies are to be improved upon. RECCOMMENDATIONS All social interventions should ideally be based upon evidence. At the very...
The author sums up in the end that all social interventions should ideally be based upon evidence. At the very least, they should be tested for efficiency at regular periods during its implementation. It is imperative that problem gambling treatment strategies in Singapore are empirically tested in a systematic fashion. This involves regular evaluations of the current program, and the testing of factors that may lead to an improved program in the future. In order to achieve this, a larger amount of resources should be directed toward research efforts, especially those related to making the intervention as successful as possible.
The apparent success of pre-commitment strategies such as exclusion programs has evidentiary backing, and so should other strategies. One of the prevailing risk factors in problem gambling is a young age when beginning to gamble (Lee et al., 2011), and so the youth should be targeted through NCPG’s programs. This appears to have been initiated through the NAMS “Relive! Back on Track” campaign, but this program still needs to be regularly evaluated for success rates and possible improvements must always be considered.
The apparent increase in problem gambling treatment rates may simply be an apparition caused by the implementation of NAMS services during the testing period. However, weaknesses in the current NCPG problem gambling campaigns need to be addressed if improvement is to become a reality. More attention and resources need to be given to research that is focused on evaluating the program.