Edition #4: Gambling harm

Young couple sitting on sofa, looking towards and listening to counsellor.
Young couple sitting on sofa, looking towards and listening to counsellor.
Photo: iStock

New evidence

What Tassie’s doing about gambling, how gambling affects families, plus more: get up to date with research

While the field of gambling research is relatively new, it is strengthening and expanding rapidly. Here, Inside gambling summarises some recent key studies.

A snapshot of gambling and health in Victoria

This is the first major study to measure problem gambling in Victoria in six years. It explores participation in gambling in Victoria and the prevalence of problem and at-risk gambling – and compares findings with a 2008 study. This point-in-time measurement of problem and at-risk gambling in Victoria is an important benchmark for tracking trends in gambling participation. The study involved a telephone survey of 13,584 randomly selected Victorian adults and included mobile-only households for the first time.

Study of gambling and health in Victoria
Hare, S
The report was prepared by Schottler Consulting and jointly funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation.

Are harm minimisation measures working in Tassie?

This study looked at the effectiveness of harm minimisation measures for pokies, sports and race betting, lotteries, Keno and casino table gaming in Tasmania. It is volume three of the third social and economic impact study of gambling in Tasmania. Many of the results correspond with findings in other gambling studies and Australian jurisdictions. The report evaluates a range of harm minimisation measures and the level of support for them. The detailed assessments have implications for regulatory initiatives, pre-commitment systems, messages on pokies screens, and gambling prevention programs.

Third social and economic impact study of gambling in Tasmania: Volume 3 – Assessment of gambling harm minimisation measures
ACIL Allen Consulting
This research was undertaken by ACIL Allen Consulting in conjunction with the Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre and the Social Research Centre. It was funded by the Tasmanian Government Department of Treasury and Finance.

Is counselling useful as a treatment tool for gambling problems?

One of the largest studies ever conducted examining treatments for problem gambling, this research is encouraging for providers of face-to-face treatments. It examines the effectiveness of the following four approaches used in problem gambling counselling: cognitive behaviour therapy, motivational interviewing, behaviour therapy and client-centred therapy. The findings suggest that appropriately structured treatment is associated with reductions in problem gambling behaviour. The results are likely to inform future recommendations about appropriate problem gambling treatment.

Psychological treatments for problem gambling
Thomas, S, Jackson, A, Browning, C, Feldman, S, Radermacher, H, Enticott, J, Anderson, C, Godbee, K, Adamopoulos, V & Merkouris, S
The study was funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and conducted by researchers at the Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre, a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

How does problem gambling affect families?    

This article reports on a study highlighting the importance of addressing the financial, emotional and relationship issues that affect family members of people with gambling problems. Based on analysis of Australian data collected from a large-scale international study on the prevalence of problem gambling and family violence, the research:

  • evaluates how gambling affects families
  • identifies the most commonly reported effects on families
  • identifies the problem gambler characteristics associated with different types of effects on families.

The findings will provide starting points for service providers and those involved in prevention and early intervention programs.

Problem gambling family impacts: development of the Problem Gambling Family Impact Scale
Dowling, N, Suomi, A, Jackson, A & Lavis, T
The study was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant.

Find out more

For more information about these studies, read the February research update from our Gambling Information Resource Office (GIRO).

GIRO research update February 2016 (PDF - 242.4 KB)

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