Too close to home? The relationships between residential distance to venue and gambling outcomes


Although gambling accessibility is generally viewed as a multidimensional construct, few studies have successfully untangled the specific role of spatial accessibility in determining gambling outcomes relative to other forms (i.e. temporal, social and psychological). In this paper, we explore the association between gambling outcomes and the distance travelled from a person's home to their most-frequented gambling venue. To this end, we conducted a geocoded mail survey of 7044 households in the Northern Territory of Australia. We employed a geographic information system to calculate the network distance from each household to all visited electronic gaming machine (EGM) venues (n = 64). Multivariate regression modelling revealed that, when adjusted for individual and neighbourhood-level characteristics, frequency of venue visitation and gambling participation were inversely related to residential distance from venue. There was no additional distance effect for problem gambling. Spatial accessibility of EGMs is an important determinant of gambling risk and should be explicitly considered by regulators.

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