How self-exclusion works for Canberra's problem gamblers

Roulette wheel. Credit: Håkan Dahlström on flickr

Australian National University researchers are investigating how self-exclusion works for Canberra's problem gamblers, and if they receive the right kind of support.

Postdoctoral Fellow Marisa Fogarty, from the ANU Centre for Gambling Research, wants to speak to Canberra's clubs, gamblers and counsellors about self-exclusion.

Self-exclusion is an option that allows problem gamblers to approach a gaming venue in the ACT and sign a deed of exclusion to ban themselves from a specific venue, or all ACT gambling venues.

"We really don't know if self-exclusion is an effective process for people and venues in the ACT, and that's what this research is designed to understand," Fogarty says.

A 2009 Productivity Commission report found around 280,000 Australians were classified as problem gamblers. It also found an estimated 4,900 self-exclusion agreements were in place around the country between 2002 and 2009.

An ANU study in 2009 found around 1,370 people in the ACT were classified as .

Latest data from the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission says around 700 people over the past 7 years in Canberra have excluded themselves from gaming venues.

As part of the project, researchers will conduct confidential interviews where people will be asked if they have heard of self-exclusion, if they have considered it, and whether it worked if they did use it.

Fogarty said her study will be one of the more extensive research efforts into self-exclusion in Australia, despite all jurisdictions having self-exclusion programs.

"Ideally this research will inform a more effective process to better support people with problems in the ACT," Fogarty says.

"Depending on the results, we may be looking at better community education campaigns about self-exclusion, making people aware that this is an option for them, but also making sure venues in the ACT have adequate training to lead someone through the process of self-exclusion."

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