Australian academics who carried out a meta-analysis of 34 gambling studies conducted in Australia and New Zealand, claim to have produced the most complete study of gambling prevalence in Australasia to date...and the problem gambling implications are worrying.
The Problem Gambling Foundation says lawmakers should consider the results of the research, which found that there is almost one new problem gambler for each additional (land) pokie machine in a community.
The research was conducted by Professor Max Abbott, Director of AUT University's Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, Dr Judith Stubbs from the University of NSW, City Futures, Sydney, Australia and John Storer from Judith Stubbs and Associates, Australia.
The findings were that for every additional pokie machine in a community there is a .8 new problem gambler. And there is no evidence that this plateaus.
Graeme Ramsey, Problem Gambling Foundation CEO, says research such as this should inform government gambling policy.
"This study clearly shows that if new pokie machines are put into New Zealand communities, we can expect to see new problem gamblers - in fact, nearly one new problem gambler for each new machine," he says.
The authors say the findings support a view that restricting the per capita density of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) will lead to reduced gambling harm.
"Policies related to restricting or reducing the density of EGMs are likely to play a significant role in containing or reducing gambling-related harm," the authors claim. "Holding or reducing EGM numbers would appear prudent based on our findings and is likely to lead to reduced harm," they say.