Moderate Risk and Problem Slot Machine Gamblers: A Typology of Gambling-Related Cognitions

By June St Clair Buchanan and Gregory Elliott.

Gambling has traditionally been a part of the national psyche in Australia. In more recent times, however, attitudes in much of the community are changing, with the result that governments are widely expected to develop increasingly restrictive public policies related to electronic gaming machines (EGMs). The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between government, business, and the broader community in the context of the gambling industry in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and to explore the political and social policy implications of reconciling these competing stakeholder interests. The research draws on the results of 38 face-to-face interviews with key stakeholders in Nevada and NSW conducted during 2005 and 2006, with an additional two interviews in 2013 in NSW. Furthermore, 47 newspaper articles were analyzed to further identify key issues. Against a background of widespread community skepticism, we argue that governments have an important role in setting public policies and striking the appropriate balance between protecting those who have, or are susceptible to, gambling problems and the majority of people who play EGMs without any ensuing problems. However, businesses also have an important contribution to make by being proactively socially responsible, thereby increasing their legitimacy and negating the need for further government interventions.