Serge Sardo, photo: Paul Jeffers
'To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.'
Marilyn vos Savant
Research and evidence-gathering are at the very core of our work at the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.
We fund many rigorous, peer-reviewed research projects conducted by leading academics.
We are also fortunate enough to have extensive evidence-gathering tentacles to complement our research program and help achieve our legislated objectives.
This special research edition of Inside gambling contains a snapshot of the most recent, and most important, research released by the foundation this year.
Study of gambling and health in Victoria
This first major study of gambling in Victoria in six years has found while fewer people overall are gambling, those who are, are betting more often and losing more.
It's the first major prevalence study since 2008 and it paints a very new picture of gambling in Victoria. It also provides important sign posts to guide the work of the foundation.
For example, while the number of people playing the pokies has decreased, the number betting on racing and sports betting has increased.
Online gambling is also on the rise, driven by a boom in sports betting advertising and racing promotion.
The study shows while fewer people overall are gambling, those who are, are betting more often and losing more.
A significant increase in the number of people in the low-risk category for problem gambling points to the need for effective prevention strategies.
The study represents years of work by staff at the Department of Justice and Regulation and here at the foundation, as well as lead researcher Sarah Hare.
Alive and kicking
A second major report recently published looks at how the negative stigma surrounding problem gambling affects people's decisions about seeking help.
Another new study explores the merging of gambling and gaming and its implications for young people.
We also highlight a report on the first study to investigate the relative effectiveness and durability of four psychological treatments for problem gambling.
The final study discussed in this edition involved the development of new guidelines to help families and friends of gamblers recognise and support someone with a gambling problem.
These reports show that, in Victoria, gambling research is alive and kicking.
New kid on the block
While our research program is robust, targeted and strategic, gambling research is, relatively speaking, the new kid on the block.
This is why evidence gathered from practitioners in the help sector with access to real-life stories, and learnings from other public health campaigns, allow us to make very well-considered decisions in the pursuit of harm reduction.
This is particularly pertinent to ensure new and innovative strategies to reduce gambling harm are keeping up with the new and innovative ways there are to gamble.