Evaluation of self-exclusion programs and harm minimisation measures: Report A

Abstract

The Evaluation of Self-exclusion Programs and Harm Minimisation Measures has been divided into two reports. This was necessary because of the volume of information collected in the course of the study on self-exclusion programs operated by the industry, by casinos and legislated by individual State governments. There is no one, single selfexclusion program. In addition, the central focus of the study was concerned with the effectiveness of the self-exclusion programs operating in Victoria. Comparative analysis and comment on other jurisdictions' programs are considered in the reports. Report A ? Evaluation of Self-exclusion Programs and Harm minimisation Measures ? deals principally with the programs in place in Victoria. The report describes the programs currently operating in clubs, pubs and casinos, considers the international literature and theoretical framework said to support the programs and summarises our wide ranging consultations, interviews and surveys with stakeholders. We provide conclusions regarding the effectiveness of self-exclusion and recommendations to improve the program. Table E.2 summarises the principal characteristics of selfexclusion programs in Australian States and Territories. Self-exclusion programs operating in casinos are covered by legislation. Report B ? Summary of Australian States and Territories: Self-exclusion Programs and Harm Minimisation Policies/Strategies ? provides a comprehensive description of self-exclusion programs operating in all States and Territories. Based on information provided to the Centre by respective State/Territory Gaming Ministers, regulators and others, we summarise current harm minimisation strategies, policies and approaches within each jurisdiction. For a variety of reasons, including inter alia, the rapid growth of the industry, community concern about the accessibility of gambling, concern with problem gambling and the adequacy of consumer protection, technological innovation within the industry and the on-going interests of lobby groups, harm minimisation policies and practices continue to evolve. The rationale for some strategies is not always clear. The lack of empirical data in support of policies and programs is a significant concern. Objectively, the current system is not capable of enforcing self-exclusion and this runs counter to the expectations of self-excluded patrons, counsellors, the media, and the community. A failure to detect seriously undermines the program; • All key stakeholders want a system of self-exclusion which is readily enforceable. However, whilst the industry maintains that "the system is not designed to be enforced by the venues", its offer of marginal support runs counter to individual and community aspirations regarding the meaning and effect of self-exclusion; and • A significant amount of time and energy is devoted to maintaining the "bluff" component of the program i.e., defending the credibility of the program rather than developing appropriate monitoring systems and an effective self-exclusion system that could work in an integrated way with complimentary harm minimisation measures.

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