Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Do Slot Machine Proliferation and Gambling Expenditure Really Impact on Problem Gambling Prevalence? Implications for Policy and Research

Session Title

Session 3-3-C: Policy Impact Discussions

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

30-5-2019 1:45 PM

End Date

30-5-2019 3:10 PM

Disciplines

Other Business | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social Statistics | Tourism and Travel

Abstract

Abstract

The central focus of a great deal of gambling research and public policy is the argument that an increase in the availability of gaming products, and particularly slot machines, will result in higher levels of problem gambling. This paper uses regression models to examine the relationship between slot machine numbers in the mature Australian market with the two prominent measures of problem gambling, the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) and the newer Problem Gambling Severity Instrument (PGSI) from the Canadian Problem Gambling Index. The findings provide empirical evidence that slot machine numbers are not related to problem gambling when using the PGSI and problem gambling prevalence is declining over time. This finding is consistent with research that observes similar trends. Moreover, the paper found no relationship between expenditure and problem gambling over time. The findings imply that a dominant approach in the development of gambling policy may be fundamentally flawed. There is no doubt that problem gambling exists and that problem gamblers do play slot machines, however, there is substantial doubt there is a simple relationship between problem gambling and casino and gambling products.

Statement of Implications: There is a long-term downward trend in problem gambling prevalence in the mature Australian market that seems independent of many previously assumed drivers of problem gambling. It is time to put our heads together to work out ways to minimize mental health issues associated with gambling while considering the social and economic benefits associated with gambling facilities.

Keywords

Public Policy, Problem Gambling Prevalence, Exposure Theory, Mature Market, New Approach

Author Bio

*Rohan Miller, Senior Lecturer, The University of Sydney Business School

Rohan specialises in research related to consumer and policy problems. Prior to working in academia, Rohan worked as a consultant, and in the media and hospitality industries. During a break from academia, Rohan was the Research & Planning Manager for Aristocrat. Rohan seeks to work with industry, government and other stakeholders to provide innovative research.

Gwyneth V. J. Howell, Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University

Gwyneth has received teaching awards in both academia and business. She is considered at the forefront of social media research and has developed specialized expertise in capturing organic sentiment and opinions. Her theoretical model for media use and response during crises and disasters is internationally acclaimed. She has extensive global corporate and consulting experience in business, community engagement and communication working with clients such as ATO, KAU, OLRG, and the GRA.

Dr Alvin Lee

Dr Alvin Lee is a marketing lecturer at Deakin University. He is interested in how people gamble and the commercial aspects of the industry. He specializes in gambling adoption and continuation of gambling, especially for those who indulge regularly as a pastime

Funding Sources

No funding was received for this research.

Competing Interests

One consultancy in 2018 whereby an Australian political party's gambling policy was reviewed. 2017 and earlier, the authors provided sworn testimony (that is intended to help the tribunal) in some matters relating to gambling. There has been no other direct or indirect funding in the last three years. The authors have previously consulted to and worked for gambling-related organisations.

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May 30th, 1:45 PM May 30th, 3:10 PM

Do Slot Machine Proliferation and Gambling Expenditure Really Impact on Problem Gambling Prevalence? Implications for Policy and Research

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Abstract

The central focus of a great deal of gambling research and public policy is the argument that an increase in the availability of gaming products, and particularly slot machines, will result in higher levels of problem gambling. This paper uses regression models to examine the relationship between slot machine numbers in the mature Australian market with the two prominent measures of problem gambling, the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) and the newer Problem Gambling Severity Instrument (PGSI) from the Canadian Problem Gambling Index. The findings provide empirical evidence that slot machine numbers are not related to problem gambling when using the PGSI and problem gambling prevalence is declining over time. This finding is consistent with research that observes similar trends. Moreover, the paper found no relationship between expenditure and problem gambling over time. The findings imply that a dominant approach in the development of gambling policy may be fundamentally flawed. There is no doubt that problem gambling exists and that problem gamblers do play slot machines, however, there is substantial doubt there is a simple relationship between problem gambling and casino and gambling products.

Statement of Implications: There is a long-term downward trend in problem gambling prevalence in the mature Australian market that seems independent of many previously assumed drivers of problem gambling. It is time to put our heads together to work out ways to minimize mental health issues associated with gambling while considering the social and economic benefits associated with gambling facilities.