Evaluating the effectiveness of a limited reduction in electronic gaming machine availability on perceived gambling behaviour and objective expenditure

Abstract

In Australia, there is evidence to suggest that there is a positive association between the geographical accessibility of electronic gaming machines {(EGMs)} and the frequency and intensity of gambling in local areas. Evidence such as this has been used to introduce regulatory policies to reduce the geographical accessibility of {EGMs} through the reduction of gaming machine numbers in venues. The aim of this paper was to describe the process involved in the 15 per cent reduction in gaming machine numbers in the state of South Australia and the apparent effects on gaming revenue and gambling behaviours. Detailed analysis of objective {EGM} data as well as survey-based interviews with 400 regular {EGM} players provided only limited evidence of behavioural changes or significant reductions in gaming revenue. The paper describes the nature of industry responses to circumvent the effects of the reduction in machine numbers and the implications of these findings for future regulatory policies relating to {EGM} gambling. In Australia, there is evidence to suggest that there is a positive association between the geographical accessibility of electronic gaming machines {(EGMs)} and the frequency and intensity of gambling in local areas. Evidence such as this has been used to introduce regulatory policies to reduce the geographical accessibility of {EGMs} through the reduction of gaming machine numbers in venues. The aim of this paper was to describe the process involved in the 15 per cent reduction in gaming machine numbers in the state of South Australia and the apparent effects on gaming revenue and gambling behaviours. Detailed analysis of objective {EGM} data as well as survey-based interviews with 400 regular {EGM} players provided only limited evidence of behavioural changes or significant reductions in gaming revenue. The paper describes the nature of industry responses to circumvent the effects of the reduction in machine numbers and the implications of these findings for future regulatory policies relating to {EGM} gambling.

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