This study explored strategies people use to stick to spending limits when gambling on pokies. The researchers interviewed 184 pokies users across 11 gaming venues – before they entered the gaming room, when they left the gaming room, and 30 days later.
The study also tested the feasibility and effectiveness of an ‘action and coping planning’ intervention offered in venues to help people stick to limits. Such interventions have proven effective in other areas of public health, including alcohol consumption. Around half the participants received a 20-minute intervention, delivered before they entered the gaming room.
Key findings included:
- Participants employed a large range of strategies to stick to limits, often before entering a venue – most popular were bringing the exact amount of cash they are willing to lose, and not bringing bank cards.
- Moderate-risk and problem gamblers were more likely to use in-venue strategies, such as taking a break, than to employ strategies before entering a venue.
- Moderate-risk and problem gamblers were more likely to exceed their limits (26 per cent) than low-risk and non-problem gamblers (nine per cent).
- The 20-minute intervention did not improve rates of success; overall, participants in both groups managed to stick to their chosen limits. However, it did reduce the amount people intended to spend in the subsequent 30 days.
- Moderate-risk and problem gamblers who received the intervention spent half as much over the following 30 days than moderate-risk and problem gamblers who did not receive the intervention.
- Over the following 30 days, participants used, on average, 14 different strategies to stick to spending limits – 90 per cent used only the money they brought to the venue.
The study shows people are aware of, and regularly use, a wide range of strategies to stick to spending limits in gaming venues. This research will be useful in developing further initiatives to support pokies users to avoid harm.
Rodda, SN, Bagot, KL, Manning, V & Lubman, DI 2019, A brief intervention to support gamblers to stick to their limits in EGM venues: an exploratory study, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.