Australian centre for research to carry out problem gambling survey

A few research-based facts instead of emotional thumb-sucking could be a good thing.

The penchant for media and anti-gambling activists alike to dwell subjectively on the problem gambling downside of the pastime has often created a lack of balance by ignoring the relatively low prevalence statistics associated with online gambling in particular.

The result has seen speculative rather than factually based numbers all too frequently thrown around, highlighting the very real need for objective and professionally balanced research projects.

One such project will commence this week in Australia, reports The Age newspaper, revealing that a new centre for gambling research in Adelaide will play a key role in developing a national response to problem gambling.

The Flinders Centre for Gambling Research is to focus on all current forms of gambling, particularly online betting in order to provide a better grasp of gambling habits and their effects on South Australians.

Director Malcolm Battersby said the centre will bring together research expertise from social work, public health, sociology and geography, to investigate and address the wider social and economic aspects of gambling.

"We already undertake some research, but there is an urgent need to quantify and define the extent and nature of broader gambling-related issues in our society," Professor Battersby said in a statement this week.

"The centre will be part of the national research response, enabling us to devise a preventative approach at a population and public health level to the problems gambling can create."

The centre's research will help to create an informed basis for future policy developments and industry standards, supporting the key objectives of the national framework on problem gambling.

Prof Battersby said while problem gamblers represented a small proportion of the gambling public, the consequences of addiction often took a severe toll on partners, families and the community at large

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