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Issue 4 - May 4, 2010 enews home

Gambling survey a sure bet

Alice Springs residents will soon be asked to take part in a survey about their gambling patterns

Alice Springs residents will soon be asked to take part in a survey about their gambling patterns

By Richie Hodgson

The ways in which Alice Springs residents use gambling venues is being investigated as a part of a research project conducted by Charles Darwin University and its partners.

Alice Springs residents will soon be asked to participate in a mail-out survey enquiring about the venues they visit as well as their gambling patterns while there.

The project, led by Charles Darwin University’s Dr Martin Young, is the first of its kind in the Northern Territory and will yield important evidence for the regulators of electronic gaming machines or "pokies".

In 2009, Dr Young and colleagues from the Australian National University and University of Queensland won a prestigious Australian Research Council Linkages Grant to pursue a spatial analysis of the gambling venue catchments across Northern Australia.

“Alice Springs is the first location where the data for this project is being collected,” Dr Young said.

Dr Young said the survey would collect information on the venues people visit, how far they travel to get there, the type of gambling activities they engage in, as well as measures of gambling-related harm.

“It also asks questions about age, gender, and income level so that our team is able to link the venue usage patterns of the respondents with their demographic and economic characteristics.”

Once all data has been collected, the research team will analyse it using Geographic Information Systems technology. This will allow the research team to measure the catchments of individual venues as well as the levels of gambling harm within them, information which has not been available to date in the NT or remote Australia more generally.

“The project will inform the development of harm minimisation policies for the management of pokies in the Northern Territory,” he said.

This project is being co-funded by the Australian Research Council, the NT Community Benefit Fund and the NT Research and Innovation Board Fund.