The field of gambling studies has been remarkably silent on loyalty programmes in the gambling industry. This article reviews the scant empirical literature, with an aim to stimulate discussion and research about the impact of loyalty programme membership on players. Preliminary evidence suggests that disordered gamblers are more apt to join a loyalty programme and be disproportionately rewarded (due to the amount of money they spend gambling) relative to recreational and at-risk gamblers. As such, loyalty programmes in the gambling industry may generate harms in vulnerable individuals. However, loyalty programmes may also be well positioned to facilitate harm-minimization by promoting behavioural tracking that is collected on every member – information that can be provided to players to advance responsible gambling. Additionally, members could be rewarded for engagement with responsible gambling tools, which may increase the currently low rate of tool use. That said, structuring loyalty programmes to reward the use of responsible gambling instruments with time on device or even non-monetary prizes may be incompatible with harm-minimization efforts. There exists a need for empirical research on the antecedents and consequences of loyalty programme membership as well as the possibility that loyalty programmes have some responsibility gambling utility.

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Keywords casino, disordered gambling, gambling, loyalty programme, responsible gambling, reward
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Journal International Gambling Studies
Wohl, M. (2018). Loyalty programmes in the gambling industry: potentials for harm and possibilities for harm-minimization. International Gambling Studies, 1–17. doi:10.1080/14459795.2018.1480649