Friday 15 November, 2013
NSW and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will join forces in a ground breaking five year research project to study the longer term impact of counselling services on problem gamblers, Minister for Hospitality, George Souris, said.
"The NSW Government will provide $430,000 from its Responsible Gambling Fund to the research project, which is just one of a suite of measures to target problem gambling. The Government committed $15 million in its last Budget towards high quality counselling services, education, awareness and research activities," Mr Souris said.
The study will be conducted by the Australian National University’s Centre for Gambling Research in conjunction with the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission; NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing; and counselling providers.
"While NSW's problem gambling rate impacts about 0.8 per cent of the population, it can have a significant impact on those affected, as well as their friends and families." Mr Souris said.
"This important research will document how up to 800 NSW and ACT people with gambling problems reach counselling services, their engagement with services and their treatment outcomes. Client follow-up will be for a minimum of two years and will look at their longer term recovery.
"The study will involve up to 200 family and friends of the research participants to capture their insights into living and dealing with the impact of problem gambling as well as their experiences of interacting with counselling treatment services.
"This examination of clients of problem gambling services, during their treatment and follow-up for two years afterwards, will help determine whether positive changes are sustained over the longer-term, whether they have experienced recurrences of gambling problems or are seeking help from either the same or different services.
"This study will improve our knowledge of how people reach treatment, identify pathways to improve the likelihood of more people with gambling problems getting help, identify why clients leave treatment early, and identify any particular demographic groups that have problems with gambling but are under-represented in treatment services.
Mr Souris said the research project, which will continue through until 2018, will provide important demographic, socio-economic and behavioural information on new counselling service clients in both NSW and the ACT.
"Knowledge gained from this study will assist in identifying potential improvements in counselling treatment programs and new strategies to encourage problem gamblers to enter and remain in treatment while helping to identified pitfalls to longer-term results and what assists successful engagement in treatment," Mr Souris said.
"The study will assist researchers to better understand when critical follow-ups of clients are most needed post-treatment to help keep them on track and reduce the risk of problem gambling relapses."
People with gambling problems and their families can access help 24-hours-day, seven-days-a-week by phoning the national free call number 1800 858 858 or visiting www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au