School of Population Health

Peter J. Adams - gambling research


Gambling consumption in New Zealand has escalated over the last two decades. The increase is propelled by greater availability of new forms of gambling, particularly continuous forms of gambling such as electronic gambling machines. Despite this proliferation we know little about the medium and long-term consequences of sustained higher levels of gambling to our quality of life. Where is this taking us? How will it interact within the social and economic fabric of our communities? We currently have few sources of information. My goal in both research and teaching is to raise awareness of the significance of this change in our leisure activities and to develop strategies that will prepare our population for the long term presence of high intensity commercial gambling.

Recent Book: Gambling, Freedom and Democracy


This book looks ahead and asks where the increased reliance on profits from gambling is leading in the long term. It argues that the rapid commercial expansion of gambling through modern Western democracies can be likened to the commercial expansion of other primary exploitative industries such as native forest logging in countries like Indonesia and Brazil. Both expansions are propelled through the interlocked interests of governments, international companies, and local entrepreneurs. While widespread native logging results in multilayered impacts on natural ecology, intensified gambling consumption results in complex impacts on the social and political ecologies. Furthermore, advances in new technologies are opening up the opportunities for exploitation on scales that were never possible before. As the chainsaw enabled vast tracts of native forests to fall, so the proliferation of poker machine lures increasing numbers of people into regular use. The profits generated by increased consumption establish and reinforce a network of relationships that are increasingly reliant on these profits. Key recipients include industry employees, government agencies, political bodies, media organisations, community groups, charities, gambling helping organisations and researchers. The book looks closely at how relationships to the profits from gambling create environments that generate conflicts of interest that in the long run discourage active and critical participation in democratic systems.

On this page

Community and research activities

  • Associate director of the Centre for Addiction Research. A faculty research centre that includes a strong focus on gambling. What was formerly known as the Centre for Gambling Studies has been merged into this new Centre.
  • Teaching a postgraduate course on gambling in the second semester as part of both the School of Population Health’s programmes in Health Science and in Public Health Link to Course Description. Read more about this Postgraduate course
  • Currently pursuing research interests into the moral jeopardy associated with increased reliance by public good institutions (charities, sporting clubs, universities, schools etc) on proceeds from the profits from gambling.
  • Supervisor for several PhD projects on addiction issues including gambling (see PhD Webpage)
  • Assistant Editor with Addiction, the lead journal in the addiction field and actively engaging with research on gambling.
  • Regular reviewer for Addiction Research & Theory, Journal of Gambling Issues, Feminism & Psychology and Journal of Gambling Issues
  • Co-convener of annual Dangerous Consumptions (DC) Conferences held for two days in November in either Australia or New Zealand and focusing on social theory applications to consumptions such as gambling, alcohol, illicit drugs, pharmaceuticals, body enhancers etc. Run every year since 2002.

Opinion pieces

  • Remember who really pays in SkyCity deal (NZ Herald, March 5, 2013). Points out how profits from problem gamblers enables casino executives to invest in activities which court political and public favour. Read more
  • Who exactly is it who wants more pokies? (The Dominion Post, April 27, 2012). Discusses how any loosening of pokie legislation can unleash a cycle of various gambling interests competing and pressuring for more exceptions. Read more
  • Decision short-sighted (The University of Auckland News, October 25, 2012). Discussion of the mental health implications of Government intentions to phase out counselling for couples on the verge of or undergoing marital separations. Read more
  • Casinos create worse addictions that Kronic (NZ Herald, June 22, 2011). Argues that the Government has its priorities wrong in that it is more prepared to respond to harms from party pills than those associated with gambling. Read more


Public health

  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J., Rossen F. (2012). A tale of missed opportunities: Pursuit of a public health approach to gambling in New Zealand. Addiction, 107, (6), 1051-1056. Read More
  • [BOOK] Adams, P. J. Gambling, Freedom and Democracy. New York: Routledge New York [Sole-authored, original book; Volume 53 of Routledge Series on Studies in Social and Political Thought, 226 pages]. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J., Raeburn, J. & De Silva, K. (2009) A question of balance: Prioritizing public health responses to harm from gambling. Addiction, 104, 688-691. [Accompanied with 4 invited commentaries].  Read more
  • [COMMENTARY] Adams, P.J., Raeburn, J. & De Silva, K. (2009). Gambling beneficiaries having their cake and eating it: the attractions of avoiding responsible gambling regulation. Addiction. 104, 697-698 [Response to commentaries].  Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2009). Redefining the gambling problem: The production and consumption of gambling profits. Gambling Research, 21(1), 51-54.  Read more

Industry ethics

  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J. (2013) Addiction industry studies: Understanding how proconsumption influences block effective interventions. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 103, No. 4, pp. e35-e38. Read more
  • [CHAPTER] Adams, P.J. (2012) Should Addiction Researchers Accept Funding Derived from the Profits of Addictive Consumptions? In A. Chapman (Ed.) Genetic Research on Addiction: Ethics, the Law and Public Health, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 122-138. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J. (2011) Ways gambling researchers receive funding from gambling industry sources (invited editorial). International Gambling Studies, 11, (2), 145-152. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Livingstone, C., Adams, P.J. (2011) Harm promotion: observations on the symbiosis between government and private industries in Australasia for the development of highly accessible gambling markets,Addiction, 106, (1), 3-8. [Accompanied by 4 invited commentaries]. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J., Buetow, S., Rossen, F. (2010) Vested interests in addiction research and policy: Poisonous partnerships: health sector buy-in to arrangements with government and addictive consumption industries,Addiction, 105, (4), 585-590. [Accompanied with one invited comment]. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2007). Assessing whether to receive funding support from tobacco, alcohol, gambling and other dangerous consumption industries. Addiction, 102(7), 1027–1033. [Accompanied by 5 invited commentaries and my response].  Read more
  • [COMMENTARY] Adams, P. J. (2007). Trusting researchers to police themselves? Addiction, 102(7), 1039–1040. [Reply to 5 commentaries on paper in same issue].  Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. & Rossen, F. (2006). Reducing the moral jeopardy associated with receiving funds from the proceeds of gambling. Journal of Gambling Issues, Issue 17, August 2006.  Read more
  • [REPORT] Adams P. & Rossen F. (2005) The Ethics of Receiving Funds from the Proceeds of Gambling. Auckland: Centre for Gambling Studies, University of Auckland, 2005 [This report tackled key ethical issues in gambling funding and has been circulated through gambling field and within government agencies 46 pages]
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. (2004) Minimising the impact of gambling in the subtle degradation of democratic systems.Journal of Gambling Issues. 11, 1 – 18 [6000 words]  Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P., Raeburn, J., Brown, R., Lane, L., Tse, S., Manaia, W. & Gerdelan, R. (2003) Editorial: Should Gambling Researchers Receive Funding Directly from Gambling Industries? WAGER: Harvard Weekly Addiction Gambling Education Report February 2003.


  • [BOOK] Adams, P. J.(2008) Fragmented Intimacy: Addiction in a Social World. Springer: New York [This book systematically describe and explains a social approach to addictions].  Read more
  • [REPORT] Tse, S., Stevenson, R. E., Shepherd, R-M, Adams, P., Brown, R., McArthur, M-J, Rossen, F., & Townsend, S. (2005). Host Responsibility: Best Practice Guidelines for Gambling Venues in New Zealand: Companion Report. Auckland UniServices Limited, University of Auckland. [Examines the international literature and develops a new framework. Will be distributed to many organisations including government agencies, services and gambling providers, 400 pages].  Summary only (full document available on request)(200KB PDF)
  • [ARTICLE] McMillan, L.M., Bellringer, M.E., Tse, S., Brown, R., Rossen, F. & Adams, P. (2004) Long-term continuous clients and their needs: a New Zealand analysis. International Gambling Studies. 4(1), 17-32.  Read more
  • [REPORT] Tse, S., Brown, R., & Adams, P. (2003) Assessment of the Research on Technical Modifications to Electronic Gaming Machines in New South Wales, Centre for Gambling Studies, University of Auckland. Read more
  • [REPORT] Bellringer, M. E., Perese, P., Rossen, F., Tse, S., Adams, P., Brown, R. & Manaia, W. (2002) Supporting the Wellbeing of Young People in Relation to Gambling in New Zealand. Centre for Gambling Studies and Problem Gambling Foundation. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Sullivan, S. Arroll, B. Coster, G. Abbott, M. & Adams P. (2000) Problem Gamblers: do GPs want to intervene. New Zealand Medical Journal, 113, 204-7.  Read more

General issues

  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. & Hodges, I. (2005). Understanding dangerous consumptions: Moving forward with a national strategy for research on tobacco, alcohol, other drugs and gambling. Journal of Social Policy in New Zealand. 26(November), 17-42.  Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2005). Identity talk on dangerous consumptions down-under. Guest editorial to special issue in Addiction Research and Theory. 13(6), 515-521 [4000 words]  Read more
  • [REPORT] Adams, P., Morrison, L., McMillan, L., Orme, C., Sloan, M., Tse, S. & Campbell, C. (2004) Problem Gambling Workforce Development 2003: The First Step in Developing Counsellor Practitioner Competencies. (60pp) Auckland: Problem Gambling Foundation.
  • [REPORT] Adams, P. J. & Hodges, I. (2004). Strategy Advisory Document: Towards a National Strategy for the Development of Research on Tobacco, Alcohol, Other Drugs and Gambling. (59pp). Health Research Council of New Zealand, Auckland.
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2004) A history of gambling in New Zealand. Guest editorial to special issue. Journal of Gambling Issues. 10: 1- 15 [Brief overview of the expansion of gambling in New Zealand - 3000 words]  Read more

Communities and harm minimisation

  • [REPORT] Campbell, L, Brown, R. & Adams, P. (2005) Identifying and Improving Information on Gambling For Use by Territorial Local Authorities. Auckland UniServices Ltd, University of Auckland (70pp) [Outlines how local governments could respond to the requirement under the Gambling Act to monitor impacts of gambling on communities].  Read more(pdf, 727 kb)
  • [REPORT] Adams, P., Rossen, F., Perese, L., Townsend, S., Brown, R., Brown, P. & Garland, J. (2004) Gambling Impact Assessment for Seven Auckland Territorial Authorities. Part One: Introduction and Overview (114pp); Centre for Gambling Studies, University of Auckland.  Read more (pdf, 727 kb)
  • [REPORT] Adams, P., Rossen, F., Perese, L., Townsend, S., Brown, R., Brown, P. & Garland, J. (2004) Gambling Impact Assessment for Seven Auckland Territorial Authorities: Part Two: Seven District Reports (210pp) Centre for Gambling Studies, University of Auckland [seven separate reports for each territorial authority]


  • [SPECIAL ISSUE] Adams, P. J., Fitzgerald, J. & Livingstone, C. (2005). Special issue on "Identity talk on dangerous consumptions down-under," Addiction Research and Theory.  Read more
  • [SPECIAL ISSUE] Adams, P. J. (2004) Special conference issue editing "Gambling through a Public Health Lens: Gambling in New Zealand" for Journal of Gambling Issues. 10: 1 - 95.   Read more
  • [CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS] Adams, P.J. & Bayly, B. (eds.) (1999). Problem Gambling and Mental Health in New Zealand: Selected Proceedings of the National Conference on Gambling 1999 Auckland: Compulsive Gambling Society of New Zealand, 1999.

Past initiatives and involvements

  • Director and co-director for ten years of the Centre for Gambling Studies. Opened by the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Jim Anderton, in 2001, the team of researchers conducted a wide variety of research projects. In 2012 it was merged into the Centre for Addiction Research (CFAR). Check the CFAR website for a listing of past projects. 
  • Chair for 5 years of the Board of Directors of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF) – previously the Compulsive Gambling Society of New Zealand. During this term the PGF grew to providing treatment interventions for problem gambling as well as health promotion, education and advocacy services for reducing harm from gambling. Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand
  • Clinical and education consultant to the Compulsive Gambling Society of New Zealand in its formation as the major provider of advice and services for people with gambling problems (1995 to 2003).
  • Member for five years of a national Committee on Problem Gambling Management which later became the Problem Gambling Committee, a statutory committee of government for purchasing services for problem gambling in New Zealand (1997 – 2003).