Victoria’s multi-billion-dollar gambling problem will be the target of nine major research projects to be launched today by the State Government’s Gambling Research Panel.
Panel chairwoman Linda Hancock said yesterday the research projects would investigate the social and economic costs of gambling and causes of problem gambling, and identify strategies to minimise harm caused by excessive gambling.
The research will cost about $500,000.
Associate Professor Hancock, director of Deakin University’s Public Policy Program, said further projects could be announced, with the results of all studies to be reported to parliament.
“The projects will go across the spectrum in terms of gambling in Victoria, looking at government regulation issues as well as the level of services available for problem gamblers,” Professor Hancock said.
Today’s announcement of research projects comes just days after the government revealed that Victorians lost $2.36 billion on poker machines in the last financial year – a $200 million increase on the previous year.
Gaming Minister John Pandazopoulos, who has come under pressure for failing to halt gaming losses, created the panel last year to provide the government with research independent of the gaming regulator, the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority.
The panel, which includes Monash University’s head of sociology, Christopher Chamberlain, and Victoria University of Technology chancellor Peter Laver, will have a large budget from which to commission and publish research.
When announcing the panel members in October last year, Mr Pandazopoulos said the panel would be able to draw money from the government’s Community Support Fund, which gets 8 per cent of all gaming-machine losses in Victorian hotels.
Opposition gaming spokesman Ted Baillieu again attacked the government’s gaming policies yesterday, saying it was interested only in “cosmetic solutions” to problem gambling.
Mr Baillieu said the …