The experiences of problem gamblers, loved ones and service providers – Stage 3

Abstract

This research study, commissioned by the Office of Gaming and Racing, aims to assist in optimising the effectiveness of approaches taken by the community services industry in helping problem gamblers, their families and loved ones. This study also aims to provide a better understanding of why people gamble to excess by exploring the perceptions and behaviours of gamblers themselves. Background research was drawn from previous related studies, which informed the methodology, sampling and theoretical framework for this project. Reference to these reports can be found in the initial scoping report entitled 'The Experiences of Problem Gamblers, Their Families and Service Providers' (ISO 9001:6738). This is the fourth report provided to the Office of Gaming and Racing and presents the results of the third phase of a three-round longitudinal tracking study of problem gamblers, loved ones and providers of problem gambling services. Where reference is made to those close to the problem gambler, termed 'loved ones', it includes a cohort of partners, family members and/or close friends of the problem gamble. An obvious message from our study is that the extent of problem gambling at electronic gambling machine (EGM) venues can be reduced by measures directed at limiting access. These include cutting the number of machines, slowing operation (intensity) of the machines and locking in expenditure thresholds for individual gamblers. Such proposals come from problem gamblers and gambling help agencies or service providers, as well as other sources. However, they meet strong resistance from industry operators. Regulation is commonly a fraught process. This is even more so in a political environment where preferences for industry self-regulation are often ascendant in government.

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