Tuesday, 9 February 2010

ClubsNSW Lack of Research

Following my interview by Steve Parsons on ABC Radio Illawarra I called Mr Parsons' producer and asked what the representative from ClubsNSW said after I finished. I was unable to listen. I was told that ClubsNSW CEO David Costello was the spokesperson rather than Chairman Peter Newell. I was also informed that Mr Costello mentioned a lack of research. I don't know if he mentioned a lack of research on exposure of children to pokie gambling in NSW clubs or lack of research supporting what I said about children being normalised to pokie gambling as a result of exposure. My stated concern that such "normalisation" could lead to a greater propensity to become problem gamblers.

There are recent studies I am aware of that mention 'normalisation' in the context of exposure to gambling leads to problem gambling. I have sent Mr Costello a copy and a link to two studies. I want to share these studies with you.

One is the 2008 Nova Scotia Adolescent Gambling Exploratory Research. This paragraph appears on page viii:
"Even more important is the growing trend towards adolescents having increased exposure to high-risk gambling at a household level either online, on television or through adult’s gambling behaviour. Such exposure normalizes the behaviours and appears to be associated with increased harm and risk for youth."
If any reader would like a copy of this report, I am happy to email it to you. Email me at PokieWatch@yahoo.com.

I emailed Mr Costello a link to a July 2008 Queensland study. Click here to download a copy of that study. This is the extract I forwarded to Mr Costello.
Many young people possessed insight into the social processes that influenced their gambling related beliefs. Many explained that their parents' attitudes and behaviours had a large influence on their own beliefs:

[What factors do you think put people at greater risk of gambling?]
If their parents do it because they have grown up around those kinds of venues and their parents are doing it so they believe that that's normal (employed, female).

I think it's a huge influence. If my parents were to gamble a lot regularly, I think that I might have a different perception of it and think that it's okay and all that. You know, that it's more acceptable to do that. But coming from a family that doesn't gamble much at all – it's definitely – the perceptions that I have, have come from that (University student, female).

[Why do you think you didn't gamble when you visited the internet site, whereas other young people may?]
I suppose just culture and influence and how I've grown up... just the way I've been conditioned. It depends on the lifestyle you grow up with I suppose. I never really grew up around gambling... Mum still does the Lottery I suppose, occasional scratchie. I find that okay. Never looking to pokies or anything but I suppose other families' children who do gamble – if it's played off – if their parents play it off as something like, "it's harmless, it's fine" then the kids might grow up thinking, "Okay maybe it isn't such... maybe I can do it". So sort of depends on just I suppose how you live (unemployed, Male).

These quotes reflect several ideas about familial influence on gambling. The first quote displays an understanding that early recreational experiences in gambling venues can normalise the gambling experience. Academic literature in fact supports this notion, suggesting that gambling venues that accommodate young people may initiate a normalisation process in which gambling is viewed as a fun family activity (Secomb, 2004). The second female, explains that parental modeling of gambling can influence one's perception of appropriate and socially acceptable recreational behaviour. She also considers the magnitude of parental influence to be very substantial. Finally, the last quote indicates that parental values, attitudes and beliefs about gambling can influence young people via a conditioning process. These notions have long been supported by empirical research and reflect the advanced nature of understanding young people held (Oei & Raylu, 2004).
One hopes that Mr Costello, in future, refrains from making statements about lack of research on the influence of being exposed to adult gambling.

Instead, Mr Costello, Mr Newell and ClubsNSW should be looking to ways to quickly stop exposing our children to pokie gambling inside NSW Clubs.


Anonymous said...

Where does any of that research mention poker machines?

PokieWatch said...

Pokies are referred to on 48 different pages of the Queensland research.

Have a look.

Slots are referred to on 8 different pages of the Nova Scotia research.

The Canadian slot machine venues I have visited in Ontario totally restrict children from the sights and sounds of pokie gambling. This is what ClubsNSW should be doing. It's no different from what NSW pubs are already doing.

Why does that standard apply to pubs but not clubs?

Anonymous said...

I've checked your reports and there is no mention. Do you make things up and assume people wont check?

PokieWatch said...

The 1st quote in the blog refers to gambling venues. Pokie gambling is conducted at those venues.
I do not make things up and assume people won't check.