Gambling numbers heading down according to an ANU study

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JOY Burch has welcomed preliminary findings of the 2014 Survey on Gambling, Health and Wellbeing in the ACT, which found significant falls in gambling participation, frequency and expenditure since 2009.

The final report of the survey, conducted by The Australian National University Centre for Gambling Research and funded by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission, is expected to be published at the end of 2015. Covering many areas including the new no deposit South African casinos that are popping up. Preliminary results have been released to assist the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Public Accounts inquiry into elements impacting on the future of the ACT clubs sector.

“This survey gives us a comprehensive picture of gambling in the ACT and allows the ACT Government to monitor and respond to gambling harm in the community,” Joy said.

“The preliminary findings indicate progress is being made in reducing gambling harm in the ACT. The proportion of adults reporting any gambling harm has fallen by 2% to 5.4% in 2014.

“The results show more Canberrans are choosing not to gamble at all and those who do gamble are doing so less often. Overall, Canberrans are spending less money on gambling than in 2009.

“It is pleasing to see progress being made on reducing gambling harm in the Canberra community. However, there is still more work to be done and the ACT Government remains committed to working with our community clubs to protect vulnerable gamblers.

“The ACT has some of the strongest harm minimisation measures in Australia, including a $250 daily withdrawal limit from ATMs in gaming venues. The Problem Gambling Assistance Fund also provided approximately $1 million in 2014-15 to assist with alleviating problem gambling, including providing funding for the Problem Gambling Support Service operated by Relationships Australia.

“We are about to begin a two-stage reduction in the number of gaming machines in the ACT with the commencement later this month of a trading scheme which will give clubs an incentive for the first time to divest themselves of gaming machines. We are also working with our community clubs on measures to help them diversify their business models and further reduce their reliance on revenue from electronic gaming machines,” Ms Burch concluded.

Key findings

The Survey found that between 2009 and 2014:

  • the proportion of people who had not gambled in the last 12 months rose from 30% to 45%;
  • those that gambled at least once a month fell from 17% to 13% and those who gambled at least weekly fell from 18% to 12%;
  • the proportion of people who gambled on poker machines at least once in the last year fell from 30% to 20%;
  • gambling expenditure has fallen by 19%;
  • the proportion of problem gamblers fell from 0.5% to 0.4% of the total ACT adult population;
  • problem gambling was strongly associated with more frequent gambling, losing higher amounts and for poker machine gamblers, longer gambling sessions;
  • in the last 12 months, 8.4% of adults gambled on the internet, with 2.1% doing so weekly or more often;
  • the most common forms of online gambling were sports & special events gambling, horse or greyhound wagering or buying lottery tickets; and
  • only about 1% gambled on simulated poker machine or casino style games.

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