A deep understanding of gambling and the harm it can cause is the key to reducing the negative impact of gambling on our communities. Because of this, evidence is the springboard of all the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation's activities.
'We're continuously gathering evidence to broaden and deepen our understanding of gambling, to feed into our policies and programs,' says Rosa Billi, head of research and evaluation.
The focus of our research
The foundation's current research agenda is focusing on these six themes:
- changing gambling environments
- gambling-related harm
- responsible gambling and gambling consumption
- treatment and recovery
We have also commissioned independent research through a grants program, as well as funded major projects on:
- conceptualising gambling-related harm
- problem gambling in people seeking treatment for a mental illness.
Independent research grants
Since 2006, the foundation has awarded 31 grants over six rounds of funding with each round focusing on a particular theme. In round six we funded researchers to explore responsible gambling and gambling consumption. Find out more about the grants awarded in round six.
Round seven grants will focus on the effects of gambling apps, normalisation and advertising on gambling behaviour. Applications for round seven have closed with grant recipients to be announced in August 2015. See grants for gambling research program.
Round eight will open for applications in early 2016. Check our website at grants for gambling research program closer to the time.
We are currently funding a general population survey of Victorian adults to determine the prevalence of problem gambling in our community. Due to be published in late 2015, this major study will further our understanding of trends in the gambling environment, such as the decline in gaming machine play and the rise of internet gambling. Importantly, it will help us identify those at risk of problem gambling.
A number of other reports will also be published in the coming months on stigma, gambling and gaming, venue environments and the effectiveness of treatments for problem gambling.
Our website lists recent research published by the foundation.
Evaluating the effectiveness of prevention and help services
Evaluation provides us with another form of evidence critical to our work. It assesses the effectiveness of our programs and activities so we can adjust and improve to deliver the best possible services to the community.
At present we're evaluating our newly expanded prevention initiatives and our recently developed service system for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
In the near future we'll be commissioning a review of Gambling Help Online, the national provider for online gambling help.
The shape of things to come
The foundation is currently planning its research and evaluation activities for the next four years.
'Our research will have a greater focus on public health approaches, while retaining an interest in the gambling environment in Victoria,' says Rosa.
A results framework, which is well advanced in development, will be a vital tool in measuring and evaluating the foundation's overall performance.
These activities will build on the knowledge base that informs our work and contribute to public understanding of gambling as an issue.