Bell_D_The impact of pokies on newly forming communities

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Bell_D_The impact of pokies on newly forming communities

  1. 1. The impact of pokies on new forming communities Beyond the Edge Conference Diana Bell October 2013
  2. 2. Outline • Project overview • Vulnerability of ‘Greenridge’ community • Opportunities for gaming licences • The localised nature of gambling behaviour • The ‘community wellbeing’ approach
  3. 3. Project Overview
  4. 4. Investigation of the community impacts of pokies • the effects of gaming machines on community wellbeing • direct, measurable outcomes as well as ripple-out, less tangible effects • The particular vulnerability of peri-urban communities
  5. 5. Project Overview - Rationale • Pokies are moving in to the growth areas of Melbourne • Likely to extract massive profits out of proportion with other entertainment offerings • State government (VCGLR) uses forecast population growth and ‘no net detriment’ test to justify • Highly accessible and form hubs of community activity in growth areas • Focus on community level rather than individual pathological gambler • How will this community respond to this challenge?
  6. 6. Project Overview – Collaboration & Funding • Part of a larger project funded by Australian Research Council and participating Victorian Councils coordinated through the VLGA • Supervised by Professor John McDonald, from University of Ballarat • In collaboration with City of Whittlesea
  7. 7. Project Overview - Why Whittlesea? a). Whittlesea’s peri-urban suburbs meet criteria for site selection • Imminent installation of gaming machines • Community supports and service systems either in place or planned or advocated for: business, educational, health and welfare, local government, voluntary etc. • Strong support from local stakeholders b). “Interface” municipality with findings broadly applicable
  8. 8. Project Overview - ‘Bounty Hotel’ Study • 3 year search for site • Pre / post study of the introduction of EGMs on a local community • random sample of gambling prevalence, problem gambling, and psychosocial wellbeing before and after the introduction of EGMs • Data collection to commence next week • CoW advice and support sought
  9. 9. Vulnerability of ‘Greenfields’ community
  10. 10. Vulnerability of ‘Greenridge’ community • • • • Rapid growth slows community cohesion High mortgages Reliance on cars Young families
  11. 11. Vulnerability - housing • At first glance, housing appears affordable $8,000 $7,000 $6,000 Per month $5,000 Greenridge $4,000 Greater Melbourne $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0 Household Income Mortgage repayment
  12. 12. Vulnerability - housing • Housing stress is high at 25% of households 30% 25% 20% Greenridge 15% Greater Melbourne 10% 5% 0% >$156,000/yr Mortgage >30%
  13. 13. Vulnerability - transport • High reliance on cars 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% Greenridge 40% Greater Melbourne 30% 20% 10% 0% 2 or more cars travelled to work by travelled to work by car public transport
  14. 14. Vulnerability – social cohesion • fewer opportunities to volunteer in newly forming communities, but internet access is high 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% Greenridge 40% Greater Melbourne 30% 20% 10% 0% Volunteers Internet
  15. 15. Why community impact? • Pokies are the main cause of problem gambling • 60% of losses are from problem gamblers or at-risk gamblers • Only 10-15% of problem gamblers seek counselling
  16. 16. Effects are felt beyond the gambler • Financial – distress and ruin, bankruptcy, food insecurity, fraud, misappropriation from friends, family, employers • Social – crime, family breakdown, divorce, violence, child neglect, depression, suicide
  17. 17. The public health approach • Upstream (prevention is better than cure) • Increase product safety • Responsible service of gambling
  18. 18. The dilemma for communities • Community benefits – support for sporting clubs, meeting facilities, cheap meals, renovated pub, marketed at families • Problem gambling can be individualised
  19. 19. Opportunities for gaming licences
  20. 20. Gaming licences in Whittlesea • Capped area in the south 581EGMs • Limit for the rest of the municipality 212 EGMs (based on current population) • Whittlesea’s rapid growth means the limit of 212 in the north will grow
  21. 21. Pokies spending in Whittlesea • • • • Density is 4.8 EGMs per 1,000 adults Ranked 22/31 (low density, bottom third) Losses equate to $727 per adult Ranked 9/31 (high losses, top third) 8 7 6 5 Whittlesea 4 Greater Melbourne 3 2 1 0 Density Spending
  22. 22. The localised nature of gambling
  23. 23. What do we know about pokies-related gambling behaviour? • The pattern of expenditure follows the number of gaming machines • People play locally – typically travelling 2.5km • The incidence of problem gambling depends on the availability of gambling
  24. 24. Building community • The importance of the local pub
  25. 25. Building up anticipation of a new community venue
  26. 26. Measuring the effect on community wellbeing
  27. 27. Community level Analysis Shift focus away from just stories of Problem gambling Rationale: • Poker machines implanted within communities • ‘Community’ recipient of harms & benefits • Growing ‘community’ action • ‘Community’ recognised in application process & Romsey Supreme Court decision
  28. 28. Data collection & analysis Quantitative method: • Pre and post survey • Measures of social cohesion • Problem gambling and wellbeing scales • Attitudes and behaviours towards pokies D
  29. 29. About the research community • • • • • • D Relatively new communities – 38,000 and growing The new pokies venue located at the centre Young median age of 30 High level of home purchasers Still waiting for complete infrastructure Networks still being established
  30. 30. Acknowledgements: The research team gratefully acknowledges the support for this project provided by: Members of the research communities and the Whittlesea Council for providing assistance and participating in the research The Victorian Local Governance Association and 29 Victorian councils which have made financial contributions This research is supported by an Australian Research Council Linkages Grant (project number LP0989647),

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