A new series of studies are set to investigate the stigma around problem gambling and how changing gambling environments affect people and the way they gamble.
The six successful projects have been awarded funding from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation in the fifth round of the Grants for Gambling Research Program.
Foundation chief executive officer Serge Sardo says the new studies will explore two themes identified as priorities in the Foundation's newly developed research agenda.
"We've identified stigma and changing gambling environments as two of our research priority areas because we believe they will provide valuable information to drive our community education and support services for people affected by gambling," said Mr Sardo.
Mr Sardo says more research is needed around how the increasing availability and accessibility of gambling is influencing people's gambling behaviours.
"With more ways and opportunities to gamble than ever before, we need to better understand how these changes are affecting people so we can develop better strategies to reduce, and prevent, gambling-related harm," said Mr Sardo.
Mr Sardo says breaking down the negative stereotypes and misconceptions about problem gambling in the community is also a challenge.
Stigma can be a barrier to people seeking help, as shown in a Victorian study on gambling and public health in 2009, where less than 10 per cent of problem and at-risk gamblers had sought help in the previous 12 months.
"We need to learn more about the stigma surrounding problem gambling and how it can affect pathways to seeking help, so we can develop better ways to overcome these barriers," said Mr Sardo.
The successful researchers from around Australia will:
- Investigate how environmental factors can influence the choice and use of online gambling products
- Explore how brand communities are used to engage young adults in sports betting
- Produce teaching materials for year 9 students to educate and influence gambling related attitudes and behaviours
- Identify the causes, characteristics and consequences of stigma
- Explore how social marketing can reduce stigma
- Develop a tool for measuring stigma
A total of $500,000 has been allocated across the six projects, with two grants awarded to early career researchers.
"We want to encourage a new generation of gambling researchers and provide them with an opportunity to develop their skills and experiences, and contribute to an important growth area," said Mr Sardo.
Findings from the studies are expected within one to two years.