A New ACT Survey Says 14% of Residents Affected by Gambling

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  • Australian Capital Territory adults suffer from gambling harm at unprecedented levels
  • Estimated 1 in 5 ACT adults is at a risk of developing gambling addiction
  • The 2019 ACT Gambling Survey puts 14% of the ACT population as negatively impacted by gambling

A new survey by the Australian National University’s Center for Gambling Research has indicated that 14% of Australian Capital Territory residents have been negative affected by gambling.

ACT’s Comprehensive Gambling Survey Finds 14% of Population Negatively Impacted

Estimated 14% of ACT residents have been negatively affected by gambling, a new research commissioned by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and carried out by the Australian National University’s Centre for Gambling Research has indicated, citing concerns that Aussies’ proclivity for the occasional flutter has taken on more serious dimensions.

Researchers have said that there needs to be a public debate about the promulgation of gambling activities in the country, as the latest numbers are far above the average even in developed gaming markets, such as the United Kingdom.

To reach these results, researchers have interviewed 10,000 residents in ACT, extrapolating that over 40,000 people now have been the victim of gambling – whether through a relative or by indulging in the pastime themselves. All participants were interviewed between April 1 and May 24.

Based on the latest survey, which collated interviews from 2009, 2014 and 2019, some 68,000 people in ACT have gambled online in the 12 months leading to the interviews. In other words, 1 in 4 adults have been indulging in some form of online gambling.

According to the research’s lead author, Dr. Marisa Paterson, the findings should prompt a debate if the government has shown too little interest in monitoring and regulating gambling. This is what Dr. Paterson said on the occasion:

These results are not something we should walk away from and say ‘we’re ok here’. We need to seriously consider gambling and its role in our community.

Financial and Sociological Factors Pushing Australians into Gambling

The researchers specifically looked into potential triggers of excessive gambling behavior, analyzing financial hardships, mental and physical well-being and other key factors that might have contributed to developing a form of mild addiction.

Then, the researchers also cited evidence that gambling was widely-spread among the population, regardless of the fact whether an individual had become addicted. Nearly 60% of ACT’s residents have gambled at least once in their past year.

Numbers were relatively evenly matched across the sexes with 64% of all males having gambled at least once and 56% of all women following suite. Interestingly, gambling was more wide-spread among older generations, and particularly those aged 45 and 59 years. However, youngsters – and specifically anyone below 45 years of age was far more likely to gamble online.

Estimated 10% of residents already suffered of at least one symptom that is associated with gambling addiction. To arrive at this number, researches used a popular metric – the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI).

To highlight the potential complications, researchers explained that estimated 34,000 adults may now be at a risk of tipping into gambling addiction.

Do Australian Gamblers in ACT Seek Out Help?

Even though estimated 14% are said to suffer from some form of gambling addiction, only 2% have sought help, according to the survey – in the period of 12 months leading up to the interviews.

Estimated 24% of people who have suffered gambling problems in their lifetime have sought out help. The survey also established that family and friends were among most common go-to options for people seeking to address their condition. This, in turn, gives credence to initiatives that rely on volunteers who know how to address similar situations or have experienced them themselves.

Nearly 50% of all interviewees in the ACT have sought help online with 15% turning to a gambling helpline. Estimated 12% of all respondents said that they have turned to friends and another 9% have gone directly to GamblersAnonymous.

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