This baseline study was conducted over a period of more than two and a half years to establish who, what, when, why and how people gamble, using interactive technology in Australia. Interactive gambling is a joint term capturing gaming and wagering on the Internet. It was undertaken by researchers from Southern Cross University, University of Sydney, University of Lethbridge and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre.
Interactive gaming includes playing games where outcomes are determined by random number generators, for example blackjack, poker, lotteries and electronic gaming machines (EGMs); and interactive wagering includes wagering on the sports field or race track events, where the internet represents a medium through which wagers are placed.
Interactive technology therefore includes the full array of interactive wagering and gaming services such as:
- use/capabilities of computers, laptops, net books, tablets, mobile phones, smart phones, interactive televisions, gaming consoles, and wireless portable devices that allow interactive gambling to be available almost anywhere at any time
- internet casinos (e.g. interactive slot machines, baccarat, roulette, craps etc)
- internet poker games where players can play against each other online
- internet sites for wagering.
The research used a multi-modal approach comprising:
- a nationally representative telephone survey (N=15,006)
- an online survey of gamblers (N=4,594)
- interviews with interactive gamblers (N=50)
- Interviews with interactive gamblers seeking treatment (N=31)
- collection of data from gambling help services.
This study is the most comprehensive examination of interactive gambling in Australia, and one of the most extensive studies internationally. It makes a significant contribution to the understanding of interactive gambling.
The use of multiple complementary research methods enabled greater insight into how interactive gambling is changing engagement in gambling.
It can be concluded from this research that interactive gamblers are a heterogeneous population, yet there appear to be significant differences between this group and land based gamblers
It is likely that participation in this mode will increase and proactive efforts by all key stakeholders should aim to address issues related to the integration of interactive technologies in gambling.
Further research has been recommended, including evaluation of prevention and treatment programs specifically focused on interactive modes of gambling.