Qualitative research to develop a communication strategy for problem gamblers


The overall objective of the research was to assist the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor with the development of a targeted education campaign to raise awareness amongst gamblers and their family and friends, about the signs of problem gambling.Qualitative research was conducted with problem gamblers in treatment; regular gamblers (high frequency); and the family and friends of problem gamblers. Stakeholders such as representatives from the gambling industry and support services were also included in the research. A total of six focus groups was conducted (n=40 participants) and 7 interviews with stakeholders. Four potential target audiences were identified and each have different communication objectives: - Problem gamblers (to identify what constitutes 'problem' gambling and to educate about the existence of help sources); - Family and friends of problem gamblers (to educate them about where help can be sought from); - Low-medium risk gamblers (to deter them from progressing toward problem gambler status); and - The general community (to raise awareness of the issue and to alert potential intermediaries about the help that is available). To have maximum impact, a general awareness campaign is recommended in order to lift the level of community knowledge about the issue. The rationale for this is that problem gamblers say they will not seek help until they have hit 'rock bottom' and many only get help because someone else (family member or friend) sends them, so it is important to let these intermediaries know where to refer the gambler. Unfortunately family and friends are difficult to locate and address, as they are widespread in the community, and thus a general awareness campaign is required in order to reach them.

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