SCU gambles on research grant

SEP 2010

A Southern Cross University (SCU) researcher has been granted $25,000 to begin groundbreaking research into internet gambling in Australia.

Post doctoral research fellow Dr Sally Gainsbury was awarded the funding from the Menzies Foundation to conduct the first social and economic impact study of the relatively new and increasingly popular gambling form.

The Menzies Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in 1979 to promote excellence in Australian medical and health research, education and post graduate scholarship.

Gainsbury says she had decided to conduct this comprehensive research project because there was not a good understanding of the nature of internet gambling.

“Although internet wagering and sports betting is legal in Australia, internet casino games, gaming machines and online poker are illegal,” says Gainsbury.

“These are increasing in popularity, particularly with young adults. It is very difficult for policy makers and industry groups to respond to internet gambling without knowing anything about it.

“As a clinical psychologist I’m concerned about the impact that internet gambling has on youth and problem gamblers.

“It is highly accessible, fast, can be played alone, at home, with just a credit card and unregulated sites provide few player protection measures.”

A Nielsen online survey from 2008 entitled Australian Internet and Technology Report cited online gambling as one of the top 10 activities conducted online across all age groups and one of the top four online activities for people in ages 35 years and over.

Gainsbury will collaborate with an international team of researchers via an internet survey scheduled to be online this month. She is also looking to identify relevant organisations with an online profile that could effectively promote the survey to internet gamblers.

“The online survey will be completed by gamblers, including internet gamblers about their gambling behaviour,” she says.

“I am interested in hearing from any individuals or organisations that are interested in being involved in promoting the survey.

“We are targeting all gamblers, but particularly those who have gambled online in the past 12 months, to be involved by completing the online survey.”

Dr Gainsbury recently completed a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology and a PhD and is also the associate editor for academic peer-review journal International Gambling Studies.

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