A new Centre for Gambling Research at Flinders will focus on all current and novel forms of gambling, particularly on-line, which pose huge potential problems for the community.
The Centre’s Director, Professor Malcolm Battersby (pictured), said the Centre aims to provide a better grasp of the gambling habits and their effects on South Australians, thereby helping to head off the associated health, social and economic problems.
The Flinders Centre for Gambling Research was launched at Flinders University Victoria Square by the State Minister for Families and Communities, the Hon Jennifer Rankine, on Tuesday, May 25.
The Centre will bring together research expertise from social work, public health, sociology and geography, to investigate and address the wider social and economic aspects of gambling.
Professor Battersby said that Flinders already has an established role in the treatment of gambling addiction through the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service run by staff from the Department of Psychiatry.
“We already undertake some research in this role, but there is an urgent need to quantify and define the extent and nature of broader gambling-related issues in our society,” Professor Battersby said.
“The Centre will be part of the national research response, enabling us to devise a preventative approach at a population and public health level to the problems gambling can create.”
The Centre’s research will help to create an informed basis for future policy developments and industry standards, and will support the key objectives of the National Framework on Problem Gambling.
Professor Battersby said that while problem gamblers represent a small proportion of the gambling public, the consequences of addiction often take a severe toll on partners, families and ultimately on the community at large.
“Collateral damage from problem gambling can lead to relationship breakdowns, broken families and economic hardship that can include the loss of the family home. For those affected, mental health problems, especially depression, often ensue,” he said.