Gambling research


There are few comprehensive studies of gambling in the Northern Territory. However one project commissioned by the Northern Territory Government in the mid-1990’s was undertaken by Jan McMillen and Samantha Togni: Study of Gambling in the Northern Territory 1996-1997. While much has occurred over the intervening years, this provides an important snapshot of how gambling once was in the Territory.

The Northern Territory Government is a partner in the national research program of Gambling Research Australia (GRA), an initiative of the Ministerial Council on Gambling. The program is undertaking a range of studies identified as national priorities for understanding and addressing problems associated with gambling behaviour. It also has a clearinghouse function for research articles.

The GRA also provides a regular update on research projects being conducted by the various states and territories. These updates can be accessed at the Gambling Research Australia website

The Australian Government commissioned some developmental work for a study of young people and gambling prepared by the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies.

In 2005 the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) completed a study of various gambling harm-minimisation measures for New South Wales, entitled Gambling: Promoting a Culture of Responsibility.

A collaborative submission between Charles Darwin University (CDU) and Licensing NT was successful in obtaining a grant from the Australian Research Council. The university issued a media release on 18 November 2004. The project was examining gambling among Aboriginal people providing a better understanding of its effects and the support that might need to be introduced to lessen any harms. The project was a three year post-graduate program that began in March 2005.

Gambling prevalence in the NT

Charles Darwin University has completed the first assessment of the prevalence of different forms of gambling across the Northern Territory since 1996. The Northern Territory Gambling Prevalence Survey 2005 presents details of the nature and extent of gambling, measures of problem gambling, the distribution and profitability of gaming machines, subjective expenditure and selected community attitudes. The results are derived from a telephone survey of 1873 Territorians in August-September 2005. The study was funded by the Community Benefit Fund.

Economic impact of NT gambling

An economic analysis of the costs and benefits of gambling generally, and gaming machines more particularly, was completed by ACIL Tasman and Charles Darwin University. The Economic Impact of Gambling on the Northern Territory outlines the model used to evaluate the impact of gambling and translate impact into monetary value, it identifies the critical factors included in the model and it draws conclusion of the overall balance of costs and benefits to community welfare. The study was funded by the Community Benefit Fund.

Uptake of responsible gambling code

Gambling providers were surveyed in 2004 to gauge the extent to which practices recommended in the Northern Territory Responsible Code of Practice have been implemented. The code was designed to promote the adoption of best practice in the provision of responsible gambling. The results of the survey showed varying compliance across different gambling sectors and greater uptake of some recommendations and not others. Improvements for the code and its implementation were identified. Full details are available from Voluntary Implementation of the Northern Territory Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling.

Measuring problem gambling

On 1 December 2005, GRA released a report entitled Problem Gambling and Harm: Towards A National Definition. The report is based on a review of literature and expert commentary. It identifies a definition of problem gambling that can be used consistently across the country to enhance discussion and research. It also recommends measurement tools for use in population studies and clinical settings. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the Gambling Research Australia website

Setting personal limits for gambling

On 19 June 2006, GRA released a report entitled Analysis of Gambler Pre-Commitment Behaviour. Based on interviews with gamblers across the country, the report looks at approaches used by people to set limits on their gambling and it explores the factors involved in the success or failure of those strategies. Results show most gamblers, whether problem or otherwise, typically set themselves amounts of money which they attempt to self-regulate during gambling. They also identify what that can lead to gamblers going over their limits and differences between problem gamblers and other gamblers and between gamblers in different gambling venues. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the Gambling Research Australia website

Gambling Harm-Minimisation Measures Post 1999: An Australian Overview with Particular Reference to the Northern Territory

The purpose of the discussion paper is to present an overview of the gambling harm-minimisation measures that are implemented across Australia with a view towards identifying those demonstrably effective measures that may be appropriate to the NT context. The paper is separated into six key areas: (1) implications of the Productivity Commission’s 1999 Report, (2) public health and responsible gambling (3) the gambling landscape in Australia (4) codes of practice in operation (5) harm-minimisation measures and (6) a discussion of findings and key areas for further research.

Expenditure on Electronic Gaming Machines in the Northern Territory: A Venues-Based Analysis

This report presents a supply-side analysis of electronic gambling machine (EGM) venues in the NT. The objective is to explore the characteristics of particular venues in the NT. This was achieved through a series of analyses of the Northern Territory Government EGM Player Loss Database over the past decade. The report combines the key findings from the range of supply-side analyses of venues conducted by the CDU research team during 2008 in a single document. It presents some descriptive analysis of EGM trends by venue type, explores the partial and temporal distribution of expenditure over a five year period (for which monthly data was available) and constructs separate typologies for clubs and hotels that may be used to aid regulatory decision making. Its purpose is to present a plain-language description of each analysis with their key implications for research and harm-minimisation.

Northern Territory 2005 Gambling Prevalence Survey: An Extended Analysis

This report presents an extended analysis of the gambling prevalence dataset collected as part of the NT Gambling Prevalence Survey 2005.

Workshop Report: Regulated Gambling and Problem Gambling Among Aborigines from remote NT communities: A Yolngu case study

This report documents, for the first time, the perspectives on gambling held by people from remote Northern Territory communities who still live customary lifestyles and speak Australian languages. Through a series of workshops with key individuals in Yolngu Matha, the report offers a genuine Yolngu perspective on gambling practices, the meaning of problem gambling and potential intervention strategies. It is specifically concerned with Yolngu perceptions of gambling, the histories of, and relationship between card-games and regulated forms of gambling, for example, poker machines. It identifies the issues, both positive and negative, with these forms of gambling as well as ways in which government and non-government organisations can engage with communities to manage the effects of gambling.

Gambling Harm in the Northern Territory - An Atlas of Venue Catchments May 2014

This atlas presents a series of maps that describe a number of pokie venues in the NT, the spatial distribution of their clientele, and their associated level of problem gambling. This report was prepared for the Community Benefit Committee.

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Last updated: 08 November 2016

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