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New research into gambling being undertaken in the ACT

Tue, Apr 2, 10:33am by Staff Writer

Researchers at the Australian National University began a third survey of Canberrrans’ participation in and attitudes towards gambling on Monday April 1.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the eight week phone research project will invite people to share their experiences with gambling.

The evidence gathered will inform the government’s policy-making.

The study is commissioned by the Australian Capital Territory government, but the work is independent, said director of the Centre for Gambling Research Marina Paterson.

“We have a real culture of gambling in Canberra and Australia so this is an opportunity to understand the participation levels and the harm in our community,” she said.

The first survey of this kind took place in 2009, with the second undertaken in 2014.

When it comes to studying gambling participation and attitudes, the rate at which the industry is changing has meant that researchers have in some cases, had to completely overhaul the questions they asked five years ago.

The last time the survey was done, researchers asked participants if they gambled “on the internet”, but that question is largely irrelevant now, with betting through smart phone apps providing many channels for people to gamble that go beyond putting a bet on the footy.

“You can buy lotto tickets and scratchies online now,” Dr Paterson said, explaining how even the most analogue gamblers have moved online.

“Online encompasses everything … we’ve had to define and refine the gambling activities [we ask about].”

Dr Paterson is hoping in this survey to find out if there is a link between gaming and gambling, with many smart-phone games encouraging users to make extra purchases once they are playing the game.

“There’s a growing amalgamation between gaming and gambling, so we really want to start to ask the community about how much they’re spending online through games,” she said.

It’s not just the questions that have changed in 2019, with the survey calling mobile numbers as well as landlines, with the number of people surveyed jumping from 7,000 to 10,000.

“Last time it became very difficult to reach a broad range of the population through landlines,” Dr Paterson said.

The survey will also contribute to nation-wide knowledge about gambling, with questions designed with the help of an advisory group of researchers from around Australia to fit in with surveys undertaken in other jurisdictions, allowing comparisons to be drawn between states and territories.

“What we’ve done with this survey is try to make it as comparable with other jurisdictions as possible, which is very hard because often surveys are not disclosed,” Dr Paterson said.

The survey starts on April 1 and will run for eight weeks.

ACT poker machine reduction in full swing

The Australian Capital Territory’s voluntary poker machine surrender program has narrowly missed its 4000-machine target.

As a result, nine clubs in Canberra will be forced to forfeit an extra poker machine license each.

Three clubs may be targeted to give up another authorisation each if number do not drop further through a trading scheme.

The Raiders Group, Eastlake and the Southern Cross Club group will be the hardest hit by the forced surrenders, which comes after a Labor-Greens pledge to reduce the number of gaming machine in the Territory to a maximum of 4,000.

The government offered $12,000 in cash incentives to small and medium clubs for every gaming machine they gave up, while larger clubs were offered discounts on land-related costs.

A reduction in the number of available licenses is significant, but the reduction in the number of machines will not align to those levels.

In November last year, there were 4,283 machines in operation across Canberra’s 44 venues, well below the 4,982 authorisations owned by clubs.

Clubs voluntarily forfeited 934 authorisations in exchange for cash bonuses and planning discounts.

12 licenses still need to be handed back to meet the cap.

Nine machines will be seized in this first round from five clubs, with no incentives offered for their forfeiture.

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