Understanding Gambling Harms in the Digital Age
UC researchers seeking participants for research into gambling harm awareness in the ACT
Researchers from the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre are now seeking participants from all walks of life to take part in research into awareness of gambling harms in the ACT.
The two-year project, supported by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission through its Gambling Harm Prevention and Mitigation Fund, will explore community awareness and knowledge of gambling harms in the Territory to help provide an evidence base for future public policy and communication approaches by the ACT Government.
Gambling is a popular and established pastime in the ACT. While it can be enjoyed safely, gambling can also lead to negative consequences. There is limited research on people’s understanding of the negative impacts of gambling, an issue which this project seeks to address.
Would you like to share your thoughts on gambling harm in the Territory?
We are keen to understand what community members know about gambling harms and what they think about harm prevention, education and communication efforts, in order to identify opportunities for improvement in these areas and to inform future policy and practices aimed at reducing existing and emerging harms related to gambling in the ACT.
We will be conducting interviews and focus groups between October and February for this research.
The ACT Gambling and Racing commission has engaged the University of Canberra to undertake research into the media and gambling harm in the ACT, to assist the ACT Government in the development of literacy materials and communication strategies relating to gambling awareness in the Territory.
Past research suggests that rates of high-risk gambling in the ACT are relatively low. A 2019 survey of gambling in the Territory found that less than 1% of respondents could be classified as problem gamblers.[i] However, almost one in ten fell into either the low- or medium-risk gambling categories.
The popularity of online gambling presents problems for the future of gambling regulation in the ACT. Approaches to community engagement and interventions must be adjusted to account for the growing share of gambling, gambling advertising and news reporting that occurs in digital spaces. With this in mind, this research aims to provide an evidence base for future policy and practices aimed at reducing existing and emerging harm related to gambling in the ACT.
Using a mixed method approach, the research will be conducted in the following phases:
- An environmental scan of existing literature, news media reporting and communication campaigns on gambling harm and harm prevention measures
- A survey of ACT residents to capture data on community awareness and understanding of gambling harm and harm prevention measures
- Interviews and focus groups with ACT residents about their experience and understanding of gambling harms, media reporting and harm prevention measures
- Interviews with medical, public health, policy and media professionals about their understandings of gambling harm, media reporting and harm prevention measures
- Development and testing of gambling harm literacy resources
The project aims to benefit the Canberra community by providing residents with the opportunity to inform the government about their own experiences and understanding of gambling, its impacts and harm prevention measures. Findings will be used to assist the ACT Government in the development of literacy materials and communication strategies relating to gambling regulation in the ACT.
ACT Gambling and Racing Commission through the Gambling Harm Prevention and Mitigation Fund
Dr Kate Holland
Professor Kerry McCallum
Dr Kieran McGuinness
Dr Barbara Walsh
[i] Paterson, M., Leslie, P. & Taylor, M. (2019). 2019 ACT Gambling Survey. Centre for Gambling Research, Australian National University.