About the study
The Study of gambling and health in Victoria presents findings from a 2014
exploration into participation in gambling in Victoria and the prevalence of problem
and at-risk gambling.
This is the first major study to measure problem gambling in Victoria in six years. The report compares findings with those of a 2008 survey published in A study of gambling in Victoria – problem gambling from a public health perspective (Hare, 2009).
The study involved a telephone survey of 13,584 randomly selected Victorian adults and included mobile-only households for the first time. It was funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and the Department of Justice and Regulation, and undertaken by Schottler Consulting.
The study found while fewer people are gambling, those who are gambling are betting more often and spending more.
Key findings include:
- Participation in gambling decreased from 2008 to 2014. In
particular, participation in gaming machines declined from 21.46 per cent to
16.74 per cent.
- The prevalence of problem gambling in adult Victorians is
0.81 per cent (35,500 people). While the percentage has not changed
significantly since 2008, this group is gambling more intensively and spending
- Participation in sports betting increased from 3.96 per cent
to 4.82 per cent, with online now the most common way to bet on sports. There
was a significant increase in sports betting participation among problem
- People whose gambling is in the 'problem' category, meaning
they are likely to be experiencing significant harm from their gambling, are
much more likely to identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The
prevalence of problem gambling in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
participants is 8.71 per cent.
- People in the problem gambling category are more likely to
be aged 35 to 44, which is older than has been found in previous studies.
- The prevalence of low-risk gambling has increased from 5.7
per cent in 2008 to 8.91 per cent (391,000 adult Victorians). This is linked to
a significant increase in low-risk gambling in women aged 35 to 44.
- While 22 per cent of people in the problem category said
they had sought help in the past 12 months, only 1.88 per cent of moderate-risk
gamblers sought help – this includes both formal and informal help.
Implications for the Foundation
This study is a point-in-time measure of problem and at-risk gambling in Victoria. It is an important benchmark to track trends in gambling participation and other gambling behaviour.
We can use this information to fine-tune our campaigns, programs and services to better address gambling harm and promote responsible gambling. This includes:
- more targeted awareness-raising campaigns in light of the
changing age and gender profiles of problem and at-risk gamblers
- specific consideration in prevention activities and help
services to address the heightened risk of problem gambling in Aboriginal or
Torres Strait Islander communities
- increased efforts to encourage more people to recognise the
signs of an emerging problem and to seek help early.
Sarah Hare - Schottler consulting 2015, Study of gambling and health in Victoria: findings from the Victorian Prevalence Study 2014, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation, Melbourne.