New support for responsible gambling research

June 3rd, 2014
The University of Sydney will embark upon one of the most comprehensive research programs around problem gambling and harm-minimisation measures everconducted in Australia.

The research, to be headed by world-leading problem gambling expert Professor Alex Blaszczynski, from the University's School of Psychology, will see the establishment of the new research on responsible gambling measures thanks to a deed of gift from ClubsNSW.

The donation from ClubsNSW, along with the Gaming Technologies Association and its members, will see $1.2 million in funding provided over three years.

Professor Alex Blaszczynski said, "The donation will provide the opportunity to carry out relevant research on people in actual venues engaged in their usual pattern of gambling behaviours."

"This represents a significant advance on current academic research that is often conducted in laboratory settings using university students completing simple decision-making tasks.

"The findings from this research will result in evidence-based strategies that will effectively minimise harms to players and their families. This donation reflects the growing trend internationally of industry actively supporting independent university research programs. Problem gamblers and those recreational gamblers at risk of becoming problem gamblers will be the ultimate beneficiaries."

As per the donation agreement, ClubsNSW will not be involved with the conduct or outcomes of the research program, and the University is able to publish the research regardless of the outcome.

An independent advisory board will also be established by the University to oversee the implementation of the research program.

The University of Sydney will also ensure the research program complies with the institution's policy on academic freedom.

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said the industry had long been committed to further reducing the rate of problem gambling and ensuring that successful and cost-effective harm-minimisation measures targeting problem gamblers were in place.

"Clubs have already invested in and implemented a number of groundbreaking measures to assist problem gamblers, including online multi-venue self-exclusion and providing pastoral care in conjunction with the Salvation Army," he said.

"However, this type of objective and comprehensive research is something that the club industry has wanted to see happen for some time.

"As a part of this research, clubs will also provide the University of Sydney researchers with access to club venues which will give academics the opportunity to study the effectiveness of harm-minimisation measures in a real-life environment."

"The club industry is committed to addressing this issue while still providing a great entertainment product for the vast majority of people without a gambling issue."

ClubsNSW is the peak industry body representing the state's not-for-profit club industry.

Provided by University of Sydney

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