Evaluating the perceived effectiveness of the Queensland educational modules in responsible gambling developed for school children

Abstract

Youth gambling is a world wide occurrence. Canada, North America and Australia are taking proactive approaches to teach youth about responsible gambling practices. Schools in Australia are beginning to teach life skills units which incorporate skills that could be used later in life. The Queensland Treasury in association with the Queensland Studies Authority released three responsible gambling education modules: Gambling: That's Entertainment, Gambling: Minimising Health Risks and Gambling and Health: Communication Skills. These modules were developed specifically for primary and secondary school students and aimed to teach youth about how to make informed genuine decisions and how to encourage responsible gambling practices. The Light House Project was a previous investigation undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of the Queensland responsible gambling education modules and occurred in 2002 (Qld Treasury; 2002: Online). However, since 2002, no other published evaluations were found on the effectiveness of the Queensland responsible gambling education modules. Thus, the aim of this investigation was to evaluate the perceived effectiveness of the Queensland responsible gambling education modules in a selection of Queensland schools. A qualitative research approach was adopted in this investigation. To determine the effectiveness of the responsible gambling education modules, three perspectives were incorporated: those of the school teachers, the Queensland Government and a welfare agency. The investigation revealed that two schools had implemented the responsible gambling education modules, two schools left the decision to the teachers and three schools did not implement the modules. It was found that the responsible gambling education modules were perceived to be helpful in creating awareness and assisted in providing information about responsible gambling. Reasons for implementing the responsible gambling education modules included schools being located in close proximity to gambling venues, problem gambling being evident in the local community and students being provided with information to make informed decisions about their gambling activities for later in life. Teachers also made suggestions to improve the responsible gambling modules, including shortening their length, adding more resources and removing the conflict resolution from the responsible gambling education modules. The Queensland Government and the welfare agency shared similar views, namely that the responsible gambling education modules were beneficial in both creating an awareness of problem gambling and assisting in early prevention.

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