Gambling opportunities and related harms

The impacts of increased gambling opportunities on gambling behaviour and related harms among older Victorians.

Funding agency

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

Project period


Project Investigators

CHE Researchers

Project aims

In most states of Australia, Electronic Gambling Machines (EGM) are widely distributed in local clubs and pubs, making gambling highly accessible. However, while there is evidence of a correlation between the presence of gaming venues within a neighbourhood and gambling behaviour, there is a lack of casual evidence.

This project aims to quantify the casual effect of increasing the residential proximity and density of gaming venues on gambling preferences, and its consequences for their mental health, financial well-being and quality of life. A specific goal is to identify the groups of Australians whose gambling behaviour and well-being are most strongly affected, with a particular focus on understanding the role of social disadvantage and isolation.

The project will integrate detailed longitudinal survey data on a sample of Australians with the geographical location of all Australian EGM venues, the number of EGMs, retail and hospitality venues, and bankruptcy, across time. This unique dataset will be analysed using sophisticated statistical methods. The scientific approach will compare outcomes over time of similar people living in the same local area, but with different access to gaming venues.

The causal evidence derived from this project will be especially useful for developing policy and strategies to reduce gambling related harms.


Impact article “Too close to home: the closer the pokies venue, the greater the loss

Badji, S., Black, N., & Johnston, D. W. (2020). Association between density of gaming venues in a geographical area and prevalence of insolvency: longitudinal evidence from Australia. Addiction115(12), 2349-2356.

Research Summary by Gambling Research Exchange (GREO)