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May / June 2012 Issue
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Research centre focused on gambling issues

 Professions Feature

The South Australian Centre for Economic Studies - based within the University - has established an Independent Gambling Research Consortium. Michael O'Neil explains.

The consortium is a cross-disciplinary network of researchers skilled in undertaking independent, evidence-based research into the nature and impact of gambling. Key research areas of expertise include psychological, health, economic, financial, social and community and legal dimensions of gambling, along with significant expertise in conducting applied research to help guide public policy decision making.

This is an important area of research - locally, nationally and internationally - because of the increasing reliance of governments on revenue from gambling and the development of technology that provides new platforms for new ways of gambling.

However, the broader economic, financial and social impacts warrant independent assessment because the impacts of gambling too often are "working in opposition" to other government policies and programs. Independent assessment means independent of government, of industry and research bodies working on behalf of industry.

The gambling consortium comprises researchers from:

  • South Australian Centre for Economic Studies, University of Adelaide and Flinders University;
  • School of Psychology, University of Adelaide;
  • Centre for Regulation and Market Analysis, University of South Australia;
  • Public Health Information Development Unit, University of Adelaide;
  • Adelaide Law School, University of Adelaide; and
  • School of Health, University of New England.

SACES was recently rated by an independent Canadian Research Team from a meta-analysis of 492 studies into the Economic and Social Impacts of Gambling. Two of its studies were among only seven out of 492 rated worldwide as of "excellent quality".

The only other one in Australia was the Productivity Commission's 1999 report and of the other four, two were Canadian and two were from the USA.

SACES researchers have a proven track record of collaboration, having undertaken national and state-based studies of gambling for Commonwealth, State and regional organisations.

These studies include a project to establish a national definition of problem gambling and review of instruments used to assess problem gambling prevalence; social and economic impact assessments of gambling in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania; an evaluation of self-exclusion programs and other harm minimisation measures; a study of the impact of regional caps on electronic gaming machines; and extensive research into international pre-commitment systems, policies and technologies.

For more information on the gambling portal and its research projects go to:

Michael O'Neil is the Executive Director of the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies based at the University of Adelaide. He has contributed to more than 150 research and consultancy studies on business and economic issues.

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