Existing evidence suggests that greater accessibility to gambling venues is associated with higher rates of gambling, increased problem gambling and an enhanced likelihood that some people gamble on impulse, rather than making a planned decision to gamble. However, there is limited quantitative evidence on the impact of living close to gambling venues on broader gambling-related harms.
- Investigated whether the close proximity of a gambling venue to a person’s home or shopping zone influences gambling behaviours and resultant harms.
- Identified the characteristics of individuals most influenced by living close to gambling venues.
- Provided evidence that can be used to inform policy relating to the accessibility of gambling venues.
Combining data on the geographical location of electronic gaming machine venues with individual survey data from participants in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, the study found that people living further from gambling venues were less likely to gamble.
Doubling the distance from a venue (for example, from one kilometre to two kilometres) reduced the likelihood of gambling by 1.5 percentage points, an effect that was larger for short distances. People living 250 metres from a gambling venue were six percentage points more likely to gamble than those living more than two kilometres from a venue.
This increase in gambling was found to lead to harmful outcomes. People living within 250 metres of a gambling venue were five percentage points more likely to experience financial hardship than those living more than two kilometres from a venue.
Importantly, the effects of living close to a gambling venue were largest for more vulnerable populations, such as those with low income.
Badji, S, Black, N, Johnston, D 2021, Proximity to gambling venues, gambling behaviours and related harms, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.