Geospatial Analysis of Gambling-Related Harm


North Darwin Beachfront Hotel

The Productivity Commission has estimated the rate of problem gambling to be 2.1% of the adult population with the associated social impacts, such as increased risk of mental health problems, bankruptcy, relationship breakdown, family violence, unemployment, criminal activity and suicide, costing over $4.7 billion per year.

Associate Professor Young's work over 15 years has focussed on the geography of problem gambling, particularly in the Northern Territory (NT), with an emphasis on poker machine venues because "the pokies" are more closely associated with problem-gambling than any other gambling activity. Up to half of all poker-machine revenue is derived from people classified as problem gamblers.

A/Prof Young's early work (2005) suggested that while problem gamblers spent on average over $30,000 per annum, these individuals were associated with particular locations, venues, socio-economic strata, and gambling type. An understanding of these geographic patterns of problem gambling is necessary to harm reduction, particularly via better-informed licensing and regulation.

In an effort to chart the geographic distribution and social consequences of poker-machine gambling, A/Prof Young's team has investigated the spatial distribution of poker-machine venues, the morphology and social composition of their catchments (or trade-areas), and the gambling outcomes they produce.

A graphical summary of key results of this research is presented in a gambling-venue atlas developed for the NT Government, titled Gambling Harm in the Northern Territory - Atlas of Venue Catchments, which provides evidence about the impacts of poker-machine gambling for evidence-based poker-machine licensing, the provision of support services to gamblers, and regulatory and policy decision making.


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