New South Wales’ Office of Responsible Gambling provided AU$400,000 in grant money to fund research on reducing gambling-related harm. NSW earmarked grant money for five separate universities across Australia. Each study focuses on a different concern, though each involve reducing harm.
The Office wants a focus on the family members of problem gamblers, because little is known about their role. Underage gambling is also a focus of the research. Four studies involve either youth gambling or the family members of gamblers.
One grant focuses on the production of an animated video which will educate young people on responsible gambling. The Sydney University of Technology’s Design Innovation Research Centre will produce the animated video. All the studies explore ways new technology can reduce risks that might arise from gambling.
Natalie Wright, the director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, said, “Technology and in particular online betting have made it easier than ever before for people to gamble. We need to better understand betting motivations and what approaches work best for people at risk of gambling harm.”
“It’s also important our research looks into the impact of gambling technology and innovation on younger people as well as the effectiveness of support for families of problem gamblers.”
Natalie Wright added, “By funding programs and research projects like these, we will further develop and underpin the evidence base for responsible gambling policy and programs.”
The research team from the Australian National University (pictured above) plans a study of the female partners or relatives of male problem gamblers. While studies show women problem gambling is on the rise, most gaming addicts are men. Most research in the past focused on gaming addicts themselves, so therapists know much less about their family members.
Deakin University, known for several influential gambling studies, will launch a systematic review of treatment for family members of people affected by a range of addictions.
Researchers from Central Queensland University have the task of studying whether loot boxes act as a gateway to adult gambling. Parents groups fear Australian youths learn about the gambling culture from smartphone games. No doubt, loot boxes introduce video game players to the mechanics of gambling.
The University of Sydney’s Business School received a grant for studying whether cash-out products exploit behavioral biases. Lawsuits filed in 2016 and 2017 alleged Aussie gaming companies design pokies that exploit human psychology.
The NSW grants come at a time when Victoria becomes the first Australian state to implement the National Consumer Protection Framework. All six Australian states agreed in December 2018 on the framework, but none have implemented the framework yet.
Designers view the National Consumer Protection Framework as a solid means of reducing harm from gambling. The framework includes a range of player protection controls, including the first national self-exclusion database.
The framework also includes deposit and play session limits, which many consider key ways for controlling problem gambling. The framework installs a set of new advertising controls, which lawmakers saw as part of a unified strategy to prevent gambling harms.
New South Wales is the leading Australian state in the gambling industry. NSW was the first Australian state to have legal poker machines (1955). While gaming machines were banned technically, private gaming clubs could house pokies for those who became members.
These days, New South Wales houses approximately 95,800 poker machines. That total makes NSW the second-leading state in the world when it comes to slot machines or gaming machines. Nevada is the only state with more EGMs than New South Wales. Nevada holds 181,109 combined slot machines and video poker machines.
NSW Racing oversees horse racing and TAB operations throughout New South Wales. The New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming, and Racing regulates pokies and casino gambling throughout the state, including all gambling at casinos, clubs, and pubs.