Gaming machine density is correlated with rates of help-seeking for problem gambling: A local area analysis in Victoria, Australia

Abstract

Local environment plays an important role in understanding gambling as a public health issue. This study uses help-seeking as an outcome measure for a local area analysis of problem gambling in Victoria, Australia. We used a cross-sectional ecological design to investigate the extent to which gaming industry and demographic, economic, and social factors are associated with rates of telephone and face-to-face counselling for problem gambling at the local government area level. Electronic gaming machine density was independently correlated with both types of help-seeking, with a range of local factors controlled. This study supports previous research that has consistently found an association between gaming machine density and problem gambling, using gaming machine expenditure as a proxy measure of harm. We build on previous work by confirming that this relationship exists when gambling harm is measured through two types of help-seeking.

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