Research Reports and Evaluations - Page 17

Gambling The City of Whittlesea is among the Victorian municipalities with the highest rates of problem gambling21 , the equivalent of nearly $700 for every adult in the area. Across the community, we know that most people do not use poker machines. Indeed, recent figures suggest that only about 20% of the population uses poker machines in any given year22. This means that on average, those who do use the machines are losing about $3500 each per year. impacted by gambling include loss of household or personal money, anger and violence and neglect. The issues highlighted in the report, coincide with responses from this survey where of those who indicated a household member had gambled, 75% said that the gambling affected their capacity to meet basic household needs: 40% sometimes being unable to meet basic needs and 35% frequently being unable to meet household needs23. Over 7% of survey respondents indicated that a member of their household has gambled regularly within the last 12 months, with losses more than they can afford. However, problem gambling, especially for those seeking emergency relief as a result of their addiction, is not easy to disclose. 0.7% of the state’s population is made up of problem gamblers. If we apply this ratio to the City of Whittlesea, there are 1,310 problem gamblers in the municipality. Only 10% of these problem gamblers seek help, meaning only 131 people in Whittlesea are likely to seek help for a gambling addiction. It is likely that the underrepresentation of people presenting with problem gambling as their causing factor for needing ER is due to the stigma attached to problem gambling. Individuals are far more likely to present seeking assistance with food, bills or housing expenses due to inadequate income, rather than disclose that assistance is being sought because there is problem gambling occurring in the household. Of those that identified gambling losses in their household in the 2014 survey, 80% stated that more than $100 per fortnight is lost as a result of gambling. Between 2010 and 2014, more survey respondents are losing more money to gambling. Across this period, there has been an approximate 12% increase in those experiencing financial losses of $50 or more per fortnight as a result of gambling. In 2014, 90% reported losing more than $50 per fortnight, compared to 78% in 2010 – significant when you consider that the average family income of survey respondents was less than $600 per week. There is now consistent international evidence that suggests problem gambling is associated with intimate partner violence (IPV). The study by the AGRC revealed that over one-third of people with gambling problems report being the victims of physical IPV (38%) or the perpetrators of physical IPV (37%), whilst 11% of perpetrators of IPV report gambling problems. Furthermore, over half of people with gambling problems (56%) report perpetrating physical violence against their children24. 100% 80% 21 22 Gambling from a Public Health Perspective (2009) Department of Justice. Ibid. 78.2% 2014 60% 40% 21.6% 20% 10% 0% <$50 losses per fortnight $50+ Gambling “The ER that is needed is mainly due to the effects of problem gambling…. These problems did not exist before gambling venues. I am still affected by gambling” When asked about the type of gambling undertaken by a household member who had gambled in the preceding 12 months, 75%, or 3 in 4, indicated they played pokies at a local gambling venue. A research report by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) highlighted that the impact of gambling problems on families can be significant. It often extends beyond the individual and their partner but may also have an impact on children, friends and other family members. The report showed that common challenges for households 90% 2010 23 Dowling Nicki, 2014, AGRC Discussion Paper No 1, The impact of gambling problems on families. 24 WHIN (2015) Fact Sheet http://www.whin.org.au/images/PDFs/FViolence/Factsheets2014/FV_Facts heet02-Whittlesea.pdf 18