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Gambling and Homelessness: Conducting research Overseas. Lesley McMahon 14/10/05. Joint Centre for Scottish Housing Research The Geddes Institute University of Dundee. Introduction. Research projects: Australian study The Research Process Points for reflection Key findings to date

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Gambling and homelessness conducting research overseas

Gambling and Homelessness: Conducting research Overseas

Lesley McMahon


Joint Centre for Scottish Housing Research

The Geddes Institute

University of Dundee


  • Research projects: Australian study

    • The Research Process

    • Points for reflection

  • Key findings to date

  • Tentative recommendations

The process ritchie lewis 2003
The Process (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003)

  • Framing the research questions

    • Literature review : Antonetti & Horn (2001), Talbot (2004)

    • Pilot study in Tayside (11 staff in 9 agencies and 2 GA members)

  • Choosing methodology

    • Case study approach (secondary and primary data)

    • Clients: in-depth – detailed account of their experiences (socio-economic, housing history, gambling history, triggers, support)

    • Agencies: semi-structured (organisation, funding, forms of support, changes over the past decade, awareness of problem gambling and homeless)

Process cont
Process cont.

  • Research Ethics

    • Incentives and reciprocity wrt participants

    • Protecting participants from harm

    • Protecting myself from harm

  • Choosing research sample

    • Gambling counselling providers

    • Homelessness service providers

    • People who have experienced pg and homelessness

  • Contacting participants

    • Contact at State government

Process cont1
Process cont.

  • Designing survey instrument

    • Agency questionnaire several iterations

  • Prep for field work

    • Setting up appointments

    • Using online maps to see locations of agencies and to estimate distance for travelling between appointments

    • Local contact: Eleanor

    • Map, timetables

    • Check all equipment works!

Process cont2
Process cont.

  • Conducting of fieldwork

    • Allow enough time

      • Snowballing

      • Length of interviews

      • Travelling time

      • Writing up notes and transcribing

  • Analysis

    • Thematic analysis

  • Reporting

    • To the fund body: Carnegie Trust

    • Invited to conferences

    • Journal papers

Reflection on process
Reflection on process

  • Need to estimate time better

  • Need to learn to drive

The study
The Study

  • Interviewed 26 agency staff in 17 organisations and 8 clients

    • Funded by Carnegie Trust

  • Objectives:

    • Enquire into the experiences of people who have experienced problem gambling, and the impact of this on their housing status

    • To identify the support factors

    • Highlight good practice

Key findings australia
Key Findings: Australia

  • Gambling Counselling Agencies

    • Estimated approx 25% clients have experienced homelessness or a reduction in housing circumstances caused by the problem gambling (eviction, repossession, relationship breakdown)

  • Homelessness sector

    • Variation regarding awareness of problem gambling as a discrete issue

    • Very rarely the presenting issue

    • Not the primary or secondary reason, but it is a growing factor especially with clients who have complex needs

    • Homelessness academic: “Gambling is not an issue.”

Why the different representations of the problem





Fear of denial of service

Needs not meet

Why the different representations of the problem?



Not identifying

  • Not on radar

  • Inadequate skills to respond (perceived or actual)

    Problem gambling de-prioritised

Tentative recommendations
Tentative Recommendations

  • Scottish Executive: should be proactive with community education programmes (illustrating behavioural strategies, as well as problem recognition)

    • Should encourage people to talk openly about problem gambling to remove the stigma and shame

    • Should fund services with new money into the welfare services sector (from some of the additional tax receipts from gambling)

    • Data collection

  • Gambling industry to a degree acknowledges its role and responsibilities

    • RIGT to fund support for PG and community education

  • Housing & homelessness sector

    • Training to raise awareness (GamCare)

    • Develop policies regarding service delivery for people who are experiencing problem gambling