Public opinion towards gambling and gambling regulation in Australia

Abstract

In recent years, public opinion towards gambling has become a more important factor in shaping public policy. Using a national public opinion survey conducted in Australia in 2011, this paper examines public opinion towards gambling in general and towards the government regulation of gambling in particular. Australia is an important case study because of the internationally high prevalence of gambling among the public, combined with a strong regulatory framework. Public opinion is measured by a reduced form of a scale first developed in Britain. The results confirm the generally negative views that the public holds towards gambling, which have been found internationally. In addition, the Australian public is open to the introduction of further restrictions on gambling. Overall, the public views the liberalization of gambling as having moved as far as most citizens find acceptable; to meet public expectations, future policies need to address more adequately the negative social consequences associated with problem gambling.

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