While the field of gambling research is relatively new, it is strengthening and expanding rapidly. Here, Inside gambling summarises some recent key studies.
Access to gambling increases risk, another study confirms the adage
This study, conducted in the United States, looked at whether how close you live to a casino or a racetrack has an effect on how likely you are to suffer harm from gambling.
The study found that people who lived closer to gambling venues gambled more than people who lived further away, but there were differences of effect at different distances.
Frequency of gambling declined as distance increased, but at different rates for different types of gamblers. Gambling rates of people identified as problem gamblers showed little decrease until the 20-mile mark and did not noticeably drop away until 30 miles from a gambling venue.
The authors found that the more gambling venues – in this case, casinos – within 30 miles of participants’ homes, the higher the likelihood of gambling problems occurring.
The relationship between distance from gambling venues and gambling participation and problem gambling among US adults
Welte, JW, Barnes, GM, Tidwell, MO, Hoffman, JH & Wieczorek, WF
Children are watching and learning
The impact of gambling advertising on children is constantly raised as an issue of concern to parents and the community more broadly. This study, focusing on the impact of betting companies sponsoring sporting teams, confirms that this form of marketing is successful in increasing children’s awareness of both sports gambling and the brands associated with it.
Awareness is particularly high among children between 12 and 16 years of age who attend AFL matches. All children were surveyed about their favourite NRL or AFL sponsors. Junk food sponsors were their most preferred, but gambling brands came second, followed by alcohol companies.
Child and parent recall of gambling sponsorship in Australian sport
Thomas, SL, Pitt, H, Bestman, A, Randle, M, Daube, M & Pettigrew, S
The study was funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.
Relationships between simulated and actual gambling
The links between social casino games – simulations of gambling played online – and real casino gambling has been an area of increasing interest. These games are relatively new and may act as bridges between gaming and gambling for money.
This study surveyed 521 adults who had played social casino games in the previous 12 months. More than two-thirds of participants reported that playing social games had no impact on their gambling. However, 10 per cent who already gambled stated that playing social games increased their gambling. Moreover, 20 per cent said playing social games had led them to gambling for money.
These findings suggest simulated gambling may be a gateway to actual gambling, particularly among people already vulnerable to suffering severe harms from gambling. The authors note that gambling operators have become dominant in the social casino industry.
Migration from social casino games to gambling: Motivations and characteristics of gamers who gamble
Gainsbury, SM, Russell, AMT, King, DL, Delfabbro, P & Hing, N
Australian casinos – all you need to know
This major study looks at casinos in Australia through a wide variety of lenses: it examines the legislative and regulatory framework they operate in, how they are taxed, and who gambles in them and why. It covers activities within casinos that cause gambling harm, as well as frameworks within casinos to reduce harm.
The study examines the views of casino patrons and compares Australian casinos with those operating overseas. It also contextualises casinos within the entire Australian gambling market. For anyone looking to examine or understand casinos in Australia, this report is a touchstone reference work.
Responsible gambling and casinos: final report
South Australian Centre for Economic Studies