Progress on Gambling harm reduction 2010 to 2017: Outcomes report – New Zealand strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm – online report from the Ministry of Health

Summary: Overall, the outcomes presented in this report show progress has been made in reducing gambling harm and inequalities in New Zealand. However, since approximately 2012 the downward movement in harm levels has plateaued. A range of research-based explanations for these outcomes has been identified and presented. Research has shown that the plateauing in harm reduction is not unique to New Zealand.
Progress has also been made across all of the 11 objectives set out in the Ministry’s integrated Strategy in a number of the areas, although challenges to further progress have been identified. These results imply that the current harm reduction activities should be reviewed and reinvigorated if the aim is to further reduce levels of gambling harm and inequities.
Access online report from the Ministry of Health

Reference: Ministry of Health. (2018). Progress on Gambling harm reduction 2010 to 2017: Outcomes report – New Zealand strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

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Consumer perspectives of a multi-venue gambling self-exclusion program: A qualitative process analysis


Available online – from the Journal of Gambling Studies


Abstract: Self-exclusion is an important harm minimization strategy implemented by gambling operators to restrict a problem gambler’s access to gambling opportunities. Aspects of self-exclusion, including low uptake and non-compliance, limit the effectiveness of programs. Research that considers the consumer perspective is needed to enhance the perceived utility of self-exclusion in the target audience. Twenty interviews were conducted with current (n = 13) and former (n = 7) participants of a multi-venue self-exclusion program for land-based gaming machine venues in New South Wales, Australia. Participants were asked open-ended questions about their experiences and opinions of the program, including its strengths and weaknesses, and suggested improvements for future consumers. Overall, participants found self-exclusion beneficial. However, several shortcomings of the program were expressed, including lack of available public information and overly complicated registration processes. Participants lacked confidence in venues’ willingness and ability to identify non-compliant gamblers and highlighted the need for vastly improved detection systems. The quality of interactions with venue staff in relation to self-exclusion were mixed; counsellor support, however, was perceived as important from beginning to end of a self-exclusion period. Results suggest that gambling operators should increase marketing efforts to promote the availability and benefits of self-exclusion. Investigation of strategies to streamline registration processes and to augment detection systems with new technologies was supported. Venue staff may benefit from training in appropriate self-exclusion facilitation procedures. Gambling operators should aim to foster strong links between self-exclusion programs and professional gambling counselling services. Access full article

Reference: Pickering, D., Nong, Z., Gainsbury, S.M. & Blaszczynski, A. (2019). Consumer perspectives of a multi-venue gambling self-exclusion program: A qualitative process analysis. Journal of Gambling Studies, 41.

Optimal public policy for government-operated gambling [open access policy paper]

Abstract: This paper presents a framework for formulating the optimal public policy for government-operated gambling. The goal of public policy with respect to government-operated gambling is typically stated as ‘‘harm minimization.’’ This claim masks the possible trade-off between an increase in social harm (H) and the government’s incremental net revenue (R) from increased gambling activity. Using a graphical approach, we depict first the feasible combinations of H and R, and then identify the combinations that could be classified as efficient, thereby allowing the minimum social harm for any given level of the government’s incremental net revenue from gambling. We indicate how the optimal combination of H and R could be identified and realized in both the short and long run. We then utilize the body of research on gambling and its effects to qualify what this trade-off operates
in the real world. Access policy paper

Citation: Irwin Lipnowski & Austin McWhirter. (2018). Journal of Gambling Issues, 40. 

Limit setting as a responsible gambling tool [open access article]

Over the last couple of years, the gambling industry has identified social responsibility as a major cornerstone of their business (Harris & Griffiths, 2017). The main goal of social responsibility practices in gambling is the application of procedures and tools that help minimize gambling-related harm. Because of its technological infrastructure, researchers have pointed out that many responsible gambling (RG) initiatives may actually be more effective online. Previous research has shown that information technology developments which are helpful in reducing negative consequences associated with gambling are endorsed by regular gamblers (Parke & Griffiths, 2012). Access full article

By Mark Griffiths & Michael Auer. (2018). CGiMagazine.com

A blueprint for preventing and minimising harm from electronic gambling machines in the ACT [open access report]

Livingstone, C. (2018). Canberra Alliance for Gambling Reform, Canberra & Gambling & Social Determinants Unit School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne.

Introduction: The purpose of this report is to highlight issues with the current system of gambling regulation in the ACT, with particular reference to the regulation and operation of electronic gambling machines (EGMs). The ACT has a very high density of EGMs by Australian and world standards. The majority of gambling expenditure (i.e., losses by gamblers) is derived from EGM operations. This is true even taking into account on-line wagering. This means that the majority of harm experienced from gambling in the ACT is attributable to EGMs. The ACT Gambling & Racing Commission has indicated its alignment with a harm prevention and minimisation approach, using public health principles to guide this. At present, this approach has not been operationalised – that is, is has not yet filled out the details of what a gambling harm prevention and minimisation approach would entail. This report seeks to provide a range of options to support an active harm minimisation approach. The options outlined in this report are not exhaustive, but they are oriented towards those that can be achieved in the short to medium term. They provide a basis for focusing regulation on the prevention of harm. Continue to full report

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

 

The Case for Using Personally Relevant and Emotionally Stimulating Gambling Messages as a Gambling Harm-Minimisation Strategy (open access)

Harris, A., Parke, A., & Griffiths, M. D.
Emotions typically exert powerful, enduring, and often predictable influences over decision-making. However, emotion-based decision-making is seen as a mediator of impulsive and reckless gambling behaviour, where emotion may be seen as the antithesis of controlled and rational decision-making, a proposition supported by recent neuroimaging evidence. The present paper argues that the same emotional mechanisms can be used to influence a gambler to cease gambling, by focusing their emotional decision-making on positive external and personally relevant factors, such as familial impact or longer term financial factors. Emotionally stimulating messages may also have the advantage of capturing attention above and beyond traditionally responsible gambling messaging. This is important given the highly emotionally aroused states often experienced by both gamblers and problem gamblers, where attentional activation thresholds for external stimuli such as messages may be increased.