Programme to protect problem gamblers in Canberra is being under-utilised

A study found that the reason for the lack of success of the self-exclusion system is that there is not enough information available about the process or how people can access it.

Australia.- A new study has found that a programme which allows problem gamblers to ban themselves from gaming venues in Canberra is being under-utilised with many only accessing as it a last resort. The ACT Online Gambling Exclusion Scheme provides a way for people to be excluded from gambling in licensed venues located within Australian Capital Territory.

Now an ANU study has found that there is too little information available about the process or how people can access it, which explains the lack of success of the programme so far. According to lead researcher Dr Marisa Fogarty from the ANU Centre for Gambling Research, the misinformation around self-exclusion meant problem gamblers had a mix of information about self-exclusion, what their rights were and many accessed it only as a last resort when all other options of harm minimisation had been exhausted.

“What we found was… there was a lot of misinformation about self-exclusion and I think part of this is complicated by the fact that the ACT has a different system to NSW, Victoria, Queensland,” Fogarty said. “There really needs to be better information in the community about self-exclusion. What we found was that self-exclusion was used very much as an end point that when people were experiencing severe harm, when everything in their life had fallen apart, then they decided to self-exclude.”

About 1300 people in the ACT have severe gambling problems and another 3400 experience significant difficulties. It is estimated there have been only 700 “self-exclusions” in the ACT over the past seven years.