Developing a community indicators model: The impact of gambling on communities

Abstract

The overall aim of the research was to develop a community indicators model to assess, monitor and evaluate the impact of gambling opportunities on communities. This model needed to be one that community action groups could utilise to serve their own purposes, which takes the local context into account and which is able to be translated into simple action steps. The model has been designed for community ownership and implementation. This was achieved by having a community reference group involved from the initial planning, and all the way through to the finalisation of the model. COMAG is a simple broad framework that any given community can take up and modify to best fit their specific local community with its own unique context, and their own purposes. It consists of the use of two broad sets of measures, one which uses a householder questionnaire, and the other which uses available data on the community. The harmful impacts of gambling are seen as largely associated with electronic forms of gambling, notably poker machines, although all gambling products are included. The driver for harm associated with gambling is primarily seen as emanating from financial losses, with stress, crime and other such matters stemming from this. However, there are other factors too, such as the way people use their time, neglect of children, impact on recreational patterns in communities, and so on. We now have a viable model which seems to have initial community support, and we have suggested do-able steps which communities can follow to be able to put this model into practice. However, there is still quite a lot to do in clarifying the precise measures and procedures to be used, for example in the household questionnaire.

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