Volunteering might be the answer to
reducing pokie play

For people in the regions, volunteering can potentially reduce the negative affects of spending money on the pokies, a recent report has revealed.

The report, which examines how pokie gambling affects the social and economic status of Victorian communities, also found that state tourism and related cultural activities help in creating growth if aligned with gambling activities.

Major findings of the Queensland University of Technology study focus on results at a Victorian level that come from analysing player characteristics and gambling spend across venues, plus the multiple effects of pokie gambling on regions.

Researchers of the report, entitled Socio-economic impacts of access to EGMs in Victoria: Effects on demand and communities, said there is a need to capitalise
on the combined Effect of clubs, tourism, cultural experiences and retail to improve local trade.

Characteristics of Victorian pokie gamblers confirm that the unemployed and low-income earners spend more on the pokies than others.

The accessibility of gambling products was a key area of focus in the research. The report reveals that, in the regions, there is a concentration of pokie machines and venues with pokie machines in poorer areas, as measured by average weekly income. This profile is clear even within disadvantaged regions.

The research method includes detailed analysis of the overall Victorian pokie revenues and player characteristics. The study also offers a more community-focussed profile of pokie gambling, the population and particular groups within the community that gamble on the pokies.

The study aimed to develop a better understanding of ideas of community harm and community benefit.

To do this it attempts to examine how this knowledge might guide thoughts around gambling policy and practice, especially in areas that have a higher density of pokie machines - therefore a higher spend on pokie gambling - higher unemployment and lower average weekly earnings.

The study also aimed to deliver a structure that can be used as a guide in assessing the social and economic impacts of pokie gambling within communities.

The full report was published in December 2011 and can be found here.