Money over misery: restrictive gambling legislation in an era of liberalization

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Series Details Vol.24, No.1, January 2017, p119-134
Publication Date January 2017
ISSN 1350-1763
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Gambling is a major industry in all European countries, generating billions in revenue to commercial actors and governments alike. It is also a source of addictions adversely affecting millions of individuals. The little research that exists on the politics of gambling legislation indicates a process of convergence towards a common policy standard. Yet, while policy convergence is the general trend, there are still significant national differences and, indeed, even divergence.

A powerful example of this is the policy trajectories of Denmark and Norway. These two countries not only resemble each other in terms of political system and social model; they also shared virtually identical gambling policies for most of the 20th century. Notwithstanding these similarities, in recent years Norway has restricted access to gambling, whereas Denmark has become one of the most liberalized gambling regimes in Europe. The article presents an explanation of these diverse policy trends.

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