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A Study of Gambling in Victoria - with a focus on help seeking behaviours. Paul Marden, December 2009 CD/09/384172. The presentation.

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A Study of Gambling in Victoria - with a focus on help seeking behaviours


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    1. A Study of Gambling in Victoria - with a focus on help seeking behaviours Paul Marden, December 2009 CD/09/384172

    2. The presentation This Forum is a great opportunity to share information and analysis on Victorian gambling and gambling risk based on the recently released A Study of Gambling in Victoria – problem gambling form a public health perspective, and as such our aims for this presentation is to: • provide you with a current, holistic snapshot of problem gambling prevalence in Victoria and some characteristics at a regional level by risk level • provide an insight into help-seeking behaviours and cohorts, as they may relate to help providing and help providers Thank you to Josh Chapman for putting this together.

    3. Background “The Government is committed to reducing the harm caused by problem gambling.” Taking action on problem gambling (Oct 2006, page 2) • This places problem gambling in the context of a public health strategy such as those for alcohol and smoking. • Taking action on problem gambling is a combination of consumer protection and public health models “A study of gambling in Victoria: problem gambling from a public health perspective”* team: - Sarah Hare (formerly of McDonnell – Phillips now Schottler Consulting) - Associate Professors Damien Jolley and Elmer Villaneuva (Monash University) epidemiologist and bio-statistician • Epidemiologist from DHS and OGR officers * Fact sheets and Study are available from www.justice.vic.gov.au

    4. The study parameters • The survey for the study took place between July to October of 2008, and referred respondents to their gambling activities 12 months prior to interview • Sample of 15,000 Victorian adults and focuses on measuring: - the participation in gambling and gambling preferences, - socio-demographic data - gambling risk profile of all gamblers - health and well-being (including mental health, connection to their communities). • Sample was selected with the objective of increasing the likelihood of capturing more ‘cases’, that is problem gamblers • Sampling Frame: Sample stratified within LGAs per capita EGM spend measured with top third classified as high , second third as medium and bottom third as low. Sample then taken 70% from high band, 20% medium and 10% low. • Weighting:To correct for distortions as much as possible in sampling matching the sample to Victorian adult population factors undertaken- age, gender, region

    5. Participation and prevalence of Problem Gambling • About 73 per cent of all adult Victorians participated in any form of gambling in past 12 months (includes raffles, sweeps or other competitions) • Most popular activities are, lotto, Powerball or pools (47.5 %), Raffles sweeps or other competitions (42.9 %) and EGMs (21.46 %) • All gamblers were asked and were appropriated into four gambling risk categories using a nine question scored index, the validated Problem Gambling Severity Index (from the Canadian Problem Gambling Index), which has been utilised by every jurisdiction in Australia since 2001. • Non problem:(score 0) will most probably not have experienced any adversity • Low risk gamblers: (score 1-2) are likely not to have experienced any adversity • Moderate risk gamblers: (score 3-7) may or may not have experienced adversity - Problem gamblers (score 8–27) have experienced adversity

    6. Setting the scene: Recent jurisdictional problem and moderate prevalence rates Note: All jurisdictions have reported prevalence rates below one per cent since the Productivity Commission report in 1999

    7. Prevalence gambling rates in Victoria Note: Higher prevalence rates are associated with medium and high EGM expenditure areas (0.8 % compared with 0.7% for the State) with PG rate of 0.05% for low EGM expenditure areas

    8. Problem gambling prevalence rates in regional Victoria North Western Metropolitan had the highest prevalence of problem gambling. Grampians had a low prevalence of problem gambling but had the largest proportion of moderate risk gamblers.

    9. Participation by product in regional Victoria Participation in Gambling Activities by Region

    10. Poly-gambling rates in regional Victoria Poly-Gambling by Region

    11. Gambling frequency by product: 2004 and 2009 comparison Note: Tables are weighted

    12. Gambling frequency by product:EGMs and Lotto Note: Tables are unweighted

    13. Gambling frequency by product:Table games and Racing/wagering Note: Tables are unweighted

    14. Problem gamblers (1) Compared with non-problem gamblers: • Nearly 31 times more likely to play EGMs and significantly more more likely to play EGMs in hotels (52% compared with 36 %) • Significantly more likely to play at four or more venues (47 % compared with 16% non-problem gamblers) AND: • About 43 per cent of them participate in four or more different gambling activities (average of over 3 activities) • Nearly two-thirds nominate EGMs as their highest spend activity • Nearly half (46%) started their gambling with EGMs

    15. Problem gamblers (2) Compared with non-problem gamblers: • 22 times more likely to have a severe mental disorder, 11 times more likely to have a moderate mental disorder and nearly five times more likely to have a mild mental disorder • 12 times more likely to have depression and 11 times more likely to have an anxiety condition • Four times more likely to state that they have had a lot of trauma, hardship and problems in their life • Four times more likely to be smokers than non-problem gamblers

    16. Moderate risk gamblers • This group may or may not have experienced adverse consequences as a result of their gambling • Have been between two and three times the pg rate in every jurisdiction • When compared with problem gamblers are significantly less likely to: • Gamble to take their minds off things • Gamble to relieve stress • Gamble out of habit • This group has a higher proportion of people aged 18 to 24 years of age • We cannot assume that all moderate risk gamblers become problem gamblers – our longitudinal study will help with this • In a Queensland study which recontacted respondents 12 to 18 months after their participation in a prevalence study, less than 8 per cent of moderate risk gamblers moved into the problem category (NAGS, 2005). Over 63 per cent moved to lower risk categories

    17. Problem and moderate risk gamblers: Gender • Males (0.95%) are twice as likely to be problem gamblers than • females (0.47%) • The 25 years to 34 years age group for both males and females have higher problem gambling rates than other age groups (1.42% and 0.56% respectively)

    18. Help Seeking: general findings • The majority of problem gamblers are aware that they have a problem and are thinking about reducing their gambling, but only one quarter (25.5 %) sought help. Compared to 3.8% of moderate risk gamblers • Problem gamblers who sought help did so from: • Professional counsellors (35.1%) • Gamblers’ Anonymous (15.9%) • Gambler’s Help (15.7%) • Over 62% of those who said they wanted help but did not seek it feel they can solve their gambling problem themselves

    19. Help Seeking: Further analysisHelp seeking, independent action to reduce gambling and non-help seeking Using the 2009 data, the OGR research team undertook further research into help seeking behaviours, dividing problem and moderate risk gamblers into three groups: H: Those gamblers who sought help for their gambling related issues from an external source. (eg: Doctor, counselling, friend or relative) IA: Those gamblers who took independent action to reduce their gambling (but did not seek formal help from an external source). IA were determined in action according to their responses to the Readiness to Change scale, a scale based on the Trans-theoretical Model of behavioural change and developed by Rollnick, Heather, Gold and Hall (1992). NH: Those gamblers who did not seek help or take independent action to reduce their action

    20. Help Seeking: Further analysisHelp seeking, independent action to reduce gambling and non-help seeking H, NH and IA analysis (unweighted data)

    21. Help seeking profiles: H (those PG and MR gamblers who seek help) H are statistically: • more than likely self referred to a counselling professional, Gamblers Anonymous, Psychologist, a community help organisation or a male or female friend for personal counselling or friendship support to help with gambling issues • over three times more likely than the VAGP, and almost twice as likely as NH and IA to have experienced a lot of trauma, hardship and problems in their upbringing • more likely to be a problem gambler than a moderate risk gambler and in comparison to NH, IA and VAGP, H are: • more likely to gamble alone (71.4 per cent) • more than twice as likely than NH and IA, and five times more likely than the VAGP to suffer from Depression and Anxiety Disorders • four times more likely to spend $201 or more a week on their highest spend activity (36.7 per cent) • more likely to report gambling out of habit, to relieve stress, social reasons and to take their mind off things, and less likely to report gambling to win money or general entertainment

    22. Help seekers –some points • The data may also suggest that H are: • more likely to be female • more likely to be employed as a professional • more likely to aged 50-64 yrs • more likely to play EGMs and nominate EGMs as their highest spend • more likely to have heart conditions, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, or lung conditions • less likely to be in a relationship and have children in comparison to NH, IA and VAGP, but slightly more likely to be from a lone household • more than 3 times more likely to have a severe mental disorder than IA and NH and almost 15 times more likely than the VAGP • more likely to have partaken in drugs in the past 12 months, (when they reported use) • more likely to report poorer social capital, but conversely report receiving more encouragement to reduce gambling from friends, relatives and relationship partners in comparison than IA and NH • fives times more likely to have engaged in a criminal activity due to gambling • more likely to have experienced a majority of the life events measured, including divorce, trouble with work, major change to their financial situation and legal difficulties • are six times more likely than IA and 15 times more likely than NH to score between 15-27 points on the CPGI screen.

    23. Help seeking profiles: NH (those PG and MR gamblers who do not seek help or take action to reduce their gambling) NH are statically: • More likely to be a moderate risk gambler than a problem gambler • More likely to report good or very good health • More likely to spend $50 or less on their highest spend gambling activity per week • More likely to have not received help when they wanted it because they thought they could solve it themselves, were embarrassed or shy, didn’t think it was serious enough, or didn’t know here to get help • more likely to report no major traumas, hardships or problems in the life in their upbringing The data may also suggest that NH are[1]: • slightly more likely to be men • likely to be aged between 18-24yrs or 50-64yrs • likely to have a year 10 or lower education • likely be in a relationship with or without children, or to be from a lone household • as likely to be employed on a full time basis as they are to be unemployed and not in the workforce • likely to play EGMs and Lotto and nominate them as their highest spend* • more likely to report having most of the current health conditions measured in this document in comparison to the VAGP • in comparison to H, IA and VAGP more likely to bet on racing/wagering and gamble with one or more people

    24. Help seeking profiles: IA (those PG and MR gamblers who took independent action to reduce their gambling) In summary, IA are statistically: • likely to be a moderate risk gambler than a problem gambler • likely to spend $50 or less on their highest spend gambling activity per week • likely to be in fair to very good health The data may also suggest that NH are[1]: • likely to be men • likely to be aged between 35-64 years old • likely have a year 12 or lower education • likely play EGMs or/and Lotto and report them as their highest spend • more likely to report having most of the current health conditions measured in this document in comparison to the VAGP • less likely to have high levels of social capital in comparison tho the VAGP • slightly more likely to report having experienced the measured life events in this document in comparison to VAGP

    25. Help Seeking: Further analysisRole of significant others in help-seeking (unweighted)

    26. Help Seeking summary While is not clear if certain demographic or health related experiences were a contributing factor to gambling risk or were a result of gambling risk, in comparison to IA, NH and the VAGP, H appear to experience higher instances of : • life events, health issues, severe mental health disorders • drug use, anxiety disorders, depression, suicide ideation • lower levels of social capital. H will more likely report gambling on EGMs, lotto and racing/wagering, (but not substantially more so than NH, IA and VAGP), and in comparison to IA are less likely to gamble on racing/wagering, table games and lotto. H are also likely to have had encouragement to reduce their gambling by a relationship partner, relative, Doctor/ medical professional or a friend. And while it may seem that those who seek help are in the midst of a whole range of socio-economic, health and gambling issues, around half of problem gamblers do not report having these co-occurring difficulties.

    27. The Challenge ahead: Diversity of Problem gamblers Stating the obvious, problem gamblers are not all the same – we speak about general characteristics but it is possible for a problem gambler to be mentally well, have no real health issues nor have had recently a negative life event. For instance: - 28.6 % of those gamblers who sought help reported being both mentally well and in good to excellent health. - about 48% do not have depression and over 50% do not have an anxiety disorder. However in terms of rates of presence in these cohorts they are substantially higher than those evident in all gamblers and in the total adult population Further studies undertaken by the OGR research team also reveal that problem gambling does not necessarily mean regular gambling. In fact, when problem gambling was explored by product, those problem gamblers who cite playing table games prefer to do so less than once a month on average than regularly( on a weekly or more basis), as problem gamblers who participate in racing/ wagering are equally as likely to play regularly as they do on a less than once a month basis. This recognises that the gambling and help seeking behaviours of problem gamblers are varied and need to be explored. It is a very heterogeneous group.

    28. Longitudinal research – following gamblers over three years The Victorian Gambling Study one of the largest surveys conducted in Victoria. The first wave of the Victorian Gambling Study is being conducted now with the second and third waves of the study expected to take place in 2010 and 2011. It is the only large scale longitudinal study of gambling ever conducted in Australia, and is a continuation of A Study of Gambling in Victoria: Problem Gambling from a Public Health Perspective, 2009. Of the 15 000 participants in this study 7500 agreed to take part in the Victorian Gambling Study, dealing with their gambling behaviours, health and demographic characteristics. The study aims to examine changes in gambling behaviour over time and will: - consider the relationship between gambling and health and other social and economic factors - provide evidence about the causes of risky or problem gambling, and the factors or assistance that can help problem gamblers to recover - assist in the design of intervention, prevention and treatment approaches for problem gambling. .