Over the past few years, the Office of Responsible Gambling has funded a number of important research projects.
All these projects align with the objectives of our Research Agenda 2021-2024. The research below is the result of projects that successfully applied for Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF) grants. Find out about the most recently completed grant-funded research studies and reports.
Enhancing gambling harm screening and referrals to gambling support services in general practice and community service settings in Fairfield LGA: a pilot study
Researcher: South Western Sydney Public Health Network
The project aimed to develop, implement, and evaluate a gambling harm screening and referral model for general practice and community services in the Fairfield LGA. The Fairfield City Health Alliance (FCHA) is a formal alliance established between South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN), South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) and Fairfield City Council (FCC) to identify and address local health needs in the Fairfield LGA. The FCHA aims to deliver community health outcomes through partnerships and collaboration with members across health and social sectors. A Gambling Working Group was established to plan, design, implement and evaluate strategies to address gambling harm. The Gambling Working Group are focused on two strategies:
- Research on the impact of gambling harm on health outcomes in the local area
- Equip and support General Practitioners and community workers to discuss gambling harm with patients
Key project activities included:
- Assessment of validated brief screening tools and degree to which any have been used within GP or CW providers in Australia
- Implementation of identified screening tools suitable for use by GPs and CWs in Fairfield LGA
- Development of localised screening protocols and referral pathways to gambling help services
- Identification of culturally sensitive and effective ways primary care professionals and community workers can enquire about, and discuss, gambling harm with patients
- Delivery of a culturally appropriate training program to primary care professionals and community workers on identifying gambling harm, appropriately supporting patients experiencing gambling harm, local referral pathways/gambling support services and motivational interviewing techniques to increase patient help-seeking behaviour.
Taking a public health approach, three target groups were identified for screening:
- An individual who is experiencing gambling harm.
- An individual who is at risk of developing gambling-related harm.
- Family members or significant others, who are affected by gambling-related harm or concerned for an individual.
The project was divided into two phases:
- Phase 1: Co-design: the development of an integrated model for gambling harm screening and referral, development of a training package within the local context and translation of screening tools and resources.
- Phase 2: Implementation: the implementation and evaluation of the integrated model for gambling harm screening and referral.
Smartphone betting on sports, esports and daily fantasy sports amongst young adults
Researcher: Central Queensland University
This report provides evidence on how distinctive platform characteristics and situational features of smartphone betting on sports, esports, and daily fantasy sports impact the betting behaviours of young adults and consequent gambling problems and harm. These findings are significant as sports betting has become more accessible, and customisable, and young adults are most likely to use a smartphone for betting.
Smartphone users engage extensively with their devices and this instant accessibility is unique to smartphone betting. Accessibility allows bettors to immediately act on a gambling urge and to bet more than usual when smartphone betting is done in social situations. Researchers found that portability distinguishes smartphone betting from betting using computers and land-based venues, enabling betting anywhere at any time, with increased ease, speed, and convenience of betting.
Smartphone betting was found to increase exposure to and personalisation of betting inducements, which are delivered directly to the bettor through push notifications.
Only smartphones combine three features that were significantly associated with short term betting-related harm:
privacy while betting
ability to bet anywhere anytime, and
greater access to inducements and betting options.
The findings support the need for gambling harm minimisation prevention strategies, including consumer education directed to young adults who gamble online, and the strengthening of ongoing regulation of wagering inducements.
Development and randomised controlled trial of safer gambling practices for electronic gambling machines (EGM) play
Researcher: Central Queensland University
This report provides evidence from the first randomised control trial to test the efficacy of safer gambling practices in reducing gambling harm. A set of evidence-based practices were identified that when implemented resulted in demonstrated reductions in electronic gaming machine (EGM) spend and, gambling harm among regular EGM players. These findings are significant as it’s the first time that commonly used practices have been tested for their impact on reducing gambling harm.
The five actionable practices that should be communicated to EGM players are:
- setting aside a fixed amount to spend
- taking regular breaks
- not playing due to boredom
- keeping leisure time busy with other activities
- keeping a household budget.
An additional 13 practices were found to have a relationship with gambling harm and, along with the above, could be incorporated into a larger set of guidelines.
EGM gamblers who are regular and low or moderate risk will most likely benefit from practices and strategies, and those who meet the criteria of problem gambling are likely to require additional strategies, including professional assistance, to resolve their gambling problem.
The safer gambling practices could be used as part of a self-assessment tool to encourage consumers to assess and self-regulate their gambling. These practices can inform community education to raise awareness and use and educate concerned significant others to support gamblers to implement them. They can also assist treatment providers by identifying actionable strategies clients can use to help reduce the harm from their gambling.
Culturally Responsive Framework to Address Gambling Related Harm
Researcher: Western Sydney Community Forum (WSCF)
This report presents a Culturally Responsive Framework to address gambling related harm. The framework provides tools and resources and contributes to the evidence base underpinning culturally appropriate services.
The framework was developed through a mix of research and information collected from:
- an implementation group with representatives from public and community agencies
- a literature review
- case studies of lived experience
- focus groups with practitioners
- existing services that deliver gambling harm minimisation services and programs
- a pilot testing of the framework and resources.
The foundations of the framework are cultural knowledge, cultural practice, and cultural change. Within these fundamental frames are a series of harms, stressors, and prevention and treatment strategies.
A web-based platform was created to support the implementation of the framework by providing helpful resources for anyone working with CALD communities. These include:
- an eLearning hub regarding culturally responsive practice
- implementation tools such as self-assessments, case studies and a guide to culturally responsive language
- a recording of the eSymposium held to launch the framework
- a clearinghouse with research, links to additional resources and further reading.
Loot boxes: are they grooming youth for gambling?
This report outlines research aimed at understanding the risks posed by loot boxes to adolescents (12–17) and young adults (18–24) in NSW. Loot boxes are a growing concern due to the risk and reward properties that closely align them with traditional gambling, the potential for encouraging greater gambling involvement, and the potential for associated gambling harm.
Broadly, this research revealed:
- Loot boxes are common in the bestselling video games. CQUniversity’s exploration included a selection of 82 bestselling video games and revealed 62% (51) had loot boxes.
- In the survey sample, almost all of the respondents played at least one video game with loot boxes within the last 12 months (93.2%).
- About a third (32.9%) of the survey respondents who played games with loot boxes within the last 12 months had also purchased a loot box, and their median monthly expenditure was $50 for adolescents and $72 for young adults.
- Compared to other purchasers, young adults who more recently first purchased loot boxes were more likely to have gambling problems. Conversely, there was no evidence that earlier experiences with loot boxes predict later gambling problems.
- Both adolescents and young adults who had either opened, bought or sold loot boxes within the last 12 months were also more likely to have:
- gambled in the last 12 months (young adults)
- gambled more frequently (young adults)
- spent more money gambling (young adults)
- suffered more gambling problems (adolescents and young adults)
- suffered more gambling-related harm (young adults)
- endorsed more positive attitudes towards gambling (adolescents and young adults).
Exploring the changing landscape of gambling in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood
This report examines how gambling is changing in NSW, particularly among young adults, and the impact of newer forms of gambling and gambling-like products.
New gambling products include those that are regulated as gambling, including betting on esports and betting on fantasy sports. Gambling-like products include gambling-style games, such as social casino games, which are not regulated as gambling.
Additional new products including loot boxes and skin gambling meet definitions of gambling but are not regulated as such in NSW.
This research revealed:
Compared with people aged 25 to 29, those aged 18 to 24
- were more likely to have taken part in emerging forms of gambling and simulated gambling except when it required expenditure (paid social casino games, paid fantasy sports, betting on esports)
- are less engaged with traditional gambling forms
- were more likely to recall first taking part in traditional and emerging forms of gambling while under the age of 18.
Compared with people aged 18 to 24, those aged 25 to 29
- were more likely to have taken part in traditional forms of gambling
- were more likely to recall being exposed to gambling via adults in their household, including parents.
Affected other treatments: systematic review and meta-analysis across addictions
Researcher: Deakin University
Despite making up a considerable proportion of the population and experiencing a range of harms, there are limited treatment options for family members and friends affected by someone else’s problematic alcohol, illicit drug, gambling or internet gaming use (i.e., affected others). Available treatments for affected others typically include the addicted person (e.g., couples and family therapies and treatments directed to the addicted person that involve the affected other). Recently, however, there has been a rise in psychosocial treatments that are directed towards helping the affected other in their own right. To date, no systematic review or meta-analysis in the addiction field has focused on treatments directed towards affected others, with all available systematic reviews exploring a combination of affected other treatments, and treatments that are directed towards, or rely on the presence of, the addicted person (e.g., couples and family therapies).
This review will therefore be the first to focus solely on treatments that are directed towards the affected other, which can include affected other-focused treatments (i.e., help the affected other manage the impacts of addiction), as well as addicted person-focused treatments (i.e., equip the affected other to support the addicted person). By exploring affected other treatments across numerous addictions (alcohol use, substance use, gambling and internet gaming), this review will identify gaps in knowledge and provide the formative work necessary for the development of evidence-based treatments for individuals affected by gambling harm.