Gambling Participation, Expenditure and Risk of Harm in Australia, 1997–1998 and 2010–2011

By Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M.

Abstract: Gambling-related harm results primarily from financial losses. Internationally Australia continues to rank as the largest spending nation per capita on gambling products. This would suggest that Australian gamblers are at disproportionately high risk of harm despite almost two decades of industry scrutiny and regulation, and investment in research, treatment and education programs. However, declines in participation rates, per capita expenditure, household expenditure, national disposable income spent on gambling and problem gambling rates have been cited as evidence that fewer people are gambling, that gamblers are spending less, and that gambling safety in Australia has improved. The current study investigated these propositions using national population and accounts data, and statistics from Australia’s two population-representative gambling surveys conducted in 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Despite a falling participation rate the study found no real change in the number of people gambling overall, and increasing numbers consuming casino table games, race wagering and sports betting. Further found were increases rather than decreases in average gambler expenditure, overall, and across most products, particularly electronic gaming machines (EGMs). Potentially risky levels of average expenditure were observed in both periods, overall and for race wagering, casino table gaming, and EGMs. Changes in the proportion of income spent on gambling suggest risks declined overall and for race wagering and casino table gaming, but increased for EGMs. Finally, while problem gambling statistics were not comparable between periods, the study found double the number of moderate risk gamblers previously estimated for 2010–2011 amongst the 2 million Australians found to have experienced one or more gambling-related problems. The findings have implications for public health policy and resourcing, and the way in which prevalence and expenditure statistics have been interpreted by researchers, government and industry in Australia and elsewhere.

Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M. (2017). Gambling Participation, Expenditure and Risk of Harm in Australia, 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9708-0

 

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Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) Environments: Market Segments and Risk

Matthew Rockloff, Neda Moskovsky, Hannah Thorne, Matthew Browne, Gabrielle Bryden.

This study used a marketing-research paradigm to explore gamblers’ attraction to EGMs based on different elements of the environment. A select set of environmental features was sourced from a prior study (Thorne et al. in J Gambl Issues 2016b), and a discrete choice experiment was conducted through an online survey. Using the same dataset first described by Rockloff et al. (EGM Environments that contribute to excess consumption and harm, 2015), a sample of 245 EGM gamblers were sourced from clubs in Victoria, Australia, and 7516 gamblers from an Australian national online survey-panel. Participants’ choices amongst sets of hypothetical gambling environments allowed for an estimation of the implied individual-level utilities for each feature (e.g., general sounds, location, etc.). K-means clustering on these utilities identified four unique market segments for EGM gambling, representing four different types of consumers. The segments were named according to their dominant features: Social, Value, High Roller and Internet. We found that the environments orientated towards the Social and Value segments were most conducive to attracting players with relatively few gambling problems, while the High Roller and Internet-focused environments had greater appeal for players with problems and vulnerabilities. This study has generated new insights into the kinds of gambling environments that are most consistent with safe play.

An Ecological Approach to Electronic Gambling Machines and Socioeconomic Deprivation in Germany

Xouridas, S., Jasny, J., & Becker, T.
In Germany, gambling research has primarily focused on the broader population in prevalence studies, neglecting the importance and influence of the local socioeconomic context in the development and maintenance of gambling disorders. To analyze the interplay between contextual and compositional factors in the market for electronic gambling machines (EGMs) in Germany, we assessed the EGM densities and socioeconomic deprivation in 244 local communities within Baden-Wuerttemberg. Our results suggest that EGM density is statistically associated with 3 socioeconomic determinants: The shares of migrants, unemployed, and high-school-educated people in the communities are statistically significant variables in our linear regression model, whereas younger age, male gender, and marital status exhibit no statistical associations with EGM density. The share of unemployed people is the only variable of statistical and practical significance. Our analysis advocates area-based policy measures to minimize gambling-related harm. By decreasing EGM densities in communities with high levels of unemployment, we expect to protect at-risk population strata that are most vulnerable to gambling exposure.

EGM environments that contribute to excess consumption and harm

Interviews with recent EGM gamblers showed that the social aspect of gambling was important for many, reflecting their choice to gamble in a venue. This was also seen as more exciting than online gambling, due in part to being able to win physical money. In contrast, those who preferred online gambling liked the functionality of it and the ease of being able to gamble at home.

Survey results showed that for the average EGM gambler, the ‘ideal’ environment involves playing on a classic game, with friends, at a club near home, in a relatively quiet place, with a large space to play in, and with cheap food available. In comparison, people experiencing gambling problems tended to be less concerned about where they gamble and whether they socialise with others while gambling.

Source: Rockloff, M., Thorne, H., Goodwin, B., Moskovsky, N., Langham, E., Browne, M., … Rose, J. (2015). EGM environments that contribute to excess consumption and harm. Melbourne: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

Veiled EGM Jackpots: The Effects of Hidden and Mystery Jackpots on Gambling Intensity

Understanding the impact of EGM Jackpots on gambling intensity may allow targeted strategies to be implemented that facilitate harm minimisation by acting to reduce losses of gamblers who play frequently, while maintaining the enjoyment and excitement of potential jackpots. The current study investigated the influences of Hidden and Mystery Jackpots on EGM gambling intensity. In a Hidden Jackpot, the prize value is not shown to the player, although the existence of a jackpot prize is advertised. In a Mystery Jackpot, the jackpot triggering state of the machine is unknown to players…

Source: Donaldson, P., Langham, E., Rockloff, M. J., & Browne, M. (2015). Veiled EGM Jackpots: The Effects of Hidden and Mystery Jackpots on Gambling Intensity. Journal of Gambling Studies

Video Lottery is the Most Harmful Form of Gambling in Canada

This paper summarizes the degree to which different forms of legal gambling contribute to Problem and Pathological Gambling (PPG) in Canada. Legal gambling activities were compared using meta-analysis of publicly available data concerning Canada’s legal gambling industry. The majority of revenues in the decade spanning 2002–2012 were drawn from Video Lottery Terminals and casino slot machines. Population surveys indicated that three quarters of Canadians reported some form of past-year gambling participation, but most did not play Electronic Gambling Machines…

MacLaren, V. V. (2015). Video Lottery is the Most Harmful Form of Gambling in Canada. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–27.