NSW invests $400,000 in gambling harm research

22 May 2019

The Office of Responsible Gambling for the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has provided almost AU$400,000 (£217,586/€246,940/$275,695) in grants to fund research into reducing and preventing gambling-related harm.

The sum will be split between five universities across Australia, supporting projects that focus on helping young people and families, and employ new technology to tackle dangers that may arise from gambling.

“Technology and in particular online betting have made it easier than ever before for people to gamble,” Office of Responsible Gambling director Natalie Wright said.

“We need to better understand betting motivations and what approaches work best for people at risk of gambling harm,” she said. “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.”

Four of the studies to have received grants focus on youth and family, including an animated series designed to educate young people about responsible gambling, which will be created by the Sydney University of Technology’s Design Innovation Research Centre.

The Australian National University, meanwhile, will look to determine the harm experienced by female partners or relatives of problem gamblers, while Central Queensland University will explore whether loot boxes familiarise minors with gambling mechanics.

Victoria’s Deakin University will conduct a systematic review and content analysis of treatment available for family members of those suffering from a range of addictions.

Finally the University of Sydney Business School will look at whether cash-out products exploit behavioural biases in customers.

“By funding programs and research projects like these, we will further develop and underpin the evidence base for responsible gambling policy and programs,” Wright added.

New South Wales' research grants have been awarded as Victoria becomes the first Australian state to implement the country's National Consumer Protection Framework. All six of the country's states agreed to roll out the framework in December 2018, which will see a range of player protection controls including deposit and play session limits, new advertising controls and a national self-exclusion database launched, as part of a unified strategy to prevent gambling harms.