People with lifelong disability exhibit similar characteristics to that of other groups who are known to be at risk of experiencing gambling harm.
While previous research has explored gambling attitudes and experiences in other at-risk population groups, there has been very limited research that has explored gambling attitudes and behaviours in people with a disability.
Approximately 18 per cent of Victorians have a disability, and approximately three per cent have an intellectual disability. Through one-on-one interviews with people with an intellectual disability, and focus groups with supporters of people with an intellectual disability, this study aims to broaden the understanding of the risks gambling may have on someone with an intellectual disability. Due to cognitive impairment, these people may have difficulty interpreting and calculating risk, placing them at clear risk of gambling related harm.
From the two research activities, the study draws out three key discussion areas:
- People with an intellectual disability are gambling, and have a range of experiences and attitudes towards different gambling products – in particular electronic gaming machines (EGMs). Given the harms caused by EGMs within communities, and the very limited knowledge about the gambling experiences of people with an intellectual disability, there is a need for further research in this area.
- People with an intellectual disability can conceptualise the risk and benefits of gambling. However, they may not perceive that they are personally at risk of gambling harm. This is a concern as there may be a false sense of security with their gambling behaviours, which is a key risk factor for gambling-related harm.
- People with an intellectual disability and supporters identified that there needs to be greater emphasis on the prevention of gambling-related harm for people with an intellectual disability. This included training within disability services, and more accessible public education resources.
Dr Hannah Pitt, Prof. Samantha Thomas, Dr Joanne Watson and Prof. Susan Balandin 2021, People with intellectual disability and their lived experiences of gambling, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.