Where does the fund come from?
Australia’s Office of Responsible Gambling has announced that it has given a significant part of its 2019 grant to five universities. They will share almost AU$4000 (US$2751; £2174) to promote responsible gambling in Australia.
Aussies are well-known for their love of gambling, from horse racing to online betting, but now a new think tank wants to encourage a love of gambling responsibly.
The Office of Responsible Gambling leads the development of responsible gambling strategy and public policy advice for the New South Wales government and supports and manages the Responsible Gambling Fund.
In January 2019, up to AU$2.5m (US$1.72m; £1.36m) from the Responsible Gambling Fund was made available for innovative projects to prevent and reduce gambling harm in communities across NSW.
Applicants were asked to consider projects that ensured that technology was leveraged and that products would enable apps or online tools that helped consumers make informed choices. The latest round closed in February and some of the recipients have now been announced.
The recipients and their projects are:
- Design Innovation Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney; design an animation series educating young people on responsible gambling
- The Australian National University; address gambling harms experienced by females concerned about significant others
- Central Queensland University; study loot boxes and whether they are grooming youth for gambling
- Deakin University; conduct a systematic review and content analysis of family member treatments across addictions
- University of Sydney Business School; research whether “cash-out” products offered by bookmakers exploit behavioral biases.
Those universities will share almost AU$4000 to enhance the quality of responsible gaming initiatives on offer, especially those targeting young people.
This isn’t the first time universities have benefited from the grant. Last year, Deakin University Development received AU$436,932 (US$300,521; £237,296) to produce an evaluation of a just-in-time intervention app to reduce gambling harm.
And the Australian National University benefited from AU$325,000 (US$223,500; £176,500) to use technology through a health promotion randomized control trial to reduce gambling harm in New South Wales Aboriginal communities.
Finding what approaches work best
Of the five successful grants, four will focus on youth and family with studies of issues including the effects problem gambling has on family members and how best to educate young people about the risks associated with gambling.
The office’s director, Natalie Wright, said the 2019 Responsible Gambling grants support innovative projects with a focus on youth, families, and new technology.
She said, “Technology and, in particular, online betting have made it easier than ever before for people to gamble. We need to better understand betting motivations and what approaches work best for people at risk of gambling harm.”
Explaining why the five universities were chosen, Wright continued, “It’s also important our research looks into the impact of gambling technology and innovation on younger people as well as the effectiveness of support for families of problem gamblers. By funding programs and research projects like these, we will further develop and underpin the evidence base for responsible gambling policy and programs.”