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Australia's Gambling Industries (1999)

Inquiry report

Inquiry report

This report was released on 16 December 1999.

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Volume 1 contents

Cover, Copyright, Letter, Acknowledgments, Contents of this report (3 volumes), Contents of Volume 1, Glossary, Terms of Reference

Key findings and Summary


1   The inquiry
1.1   The reference
1.2   Inquiry processes
1.3   Scope of the inquiry
1.4   How to read this report


2   An overview of Australia's gambling industries
2.1   Historical and social context
2.2   A snapshot of the industries
2.3   Gambling is a growth industry
2.4   Technological change and future trends

3   Consumption of gambling
3.1   How much do Australians spend on gambling?
3.2   The increasing share of gambling in household expenditure
3.3   Why do people gamble?
3.4   Who are the gamblers?


4   Impacts of gambling: a framework for assessment
4.1   The impacts of gambling: a listing
4.2   The sources of gambling-related social costs
4.3   The benefits of gambling
4.4   Measuring the impacts
4.5   Important aspects of the impacts

5   Assessing the benefits
5.1   Introduction
5.2   What benefits do consumers gain from gambling?
5.3   How can we measure the benefits to consumers?
5.4   Measuring consumer benefits from the gambling industries
5.5   What other benefits are there for the Australian economy?

6   What is problem gambling?
6.1   Introduction
6.2   Defining problem gambling
6.3   A framework for assessing 'problem' and 'pathological' gambling
6.4   How can problem gambling be tested?
6.5   Problem gambling lies on a continuum
6.6   Getting the thresholds right to identify problem gamblers
6.7   Criticisms of the Commission's use of the SOGS
6.8   Are existing tests of problem gambling adequate?
6.9   The prevalence of problem gambling
6.10   Who are the problem gamblers?
6.11   What is the duration of problems?
6.12   Comparison of gambling problems with other public health concerns

7   The impacts of problem gambling
7.1   The nature of impacts
7.2   Personal effects on gamblers
7.3   The impacts of problem gambling on others
7.4   Impacts on work
7.5   Impacts on spending
7.6   Impacts on others, the public purse and the non-profit sector
7.7   Crime and problem gambling
7.8   Are there any offsetting benefits for problem gamblers?

8   The link between accessibility and problems
8.1   Why is the link at issue?
8.2   What are the dimensions of accessibility?
8.3   Australian population surveys: what light do they shed?
8.4   Variations in the use of help services
8.5   Changing patterns of problem gambling
8.6   The epidemiological foundations of risk
8.7   Some overseas evidence
8.8   Summing up

9   Quantifying the costs of problem gambling
9.1   Introduction
9.2   Previous estimates of costs by other researchers
9.3   The Commission's estimates of social costs

10   Broader community impacts
10.1   Introduction
10.2   Aspects of crime and gambling
10.3   Impacts on the 'nature' and 'feel' of community life
10.4   Sectoral impacts of the growth in gambling
10.5   Local and regional impacts of the growth in gambling

11   Gauging the net impacts
11.1   Introduction
11.2   The Commission's assessments
11.3   Implications

Volume 2

Cover, Contents


12   Gambling policy: overview and assessment framework
12.1   Introduction
12.2   Policy processes
12.3   Clear rationales?
12.4   Allowing for 'government failure'
12.5   Good process and design
12.6   The policy goal: maximising net community benefits

13   Regulatory arrangements for major forms of gambling
13.1   Introduction
13.2   Electronic gaming machines
13.3   Casino gaming
13.4   Racing and sports betting
13.5   Lotteries
13.6   'Minor' gaming

14   Are constraints on competition justified?
14.1   Introduction
14.2   'Exclusivity' arrangements
14.3   Should gambling be restricted to particular venue types?

15   Regulating access
15.1   Introduction
15.2   What are the impacts of state-wide poker machine caps?
15.3   What are the impacts of venue caps on gaming machines?
15.4   Other access approaches
15.5   Would other measures perform better?

16   Consumer protection
16.1   Introduction
16.2   A ban on gambling?
16.3   Basic consumer information
16.4   Advertising and promotion of gambling products
16.5   Controlling the gambling environment
16.6   Do venues have the right incentives to protect their patrons?
16.7   Controlling accessibility
16.8   Controlling the venue environment
16.9   Controlling game features and design
16.10   Bankruptcy and problem gamblers
16.11   Probity

17   Help for people affected by problem gambling
17.1   Introduction
17.2   An overview of problem gambling help services
17.3   Government responses to problem gambling
17.4   Funding of services for problem gamblers
17.5   Problem gambling telephone helpline services
17.6   Problem gambling counselling services
17.7   Aspects of help services delivery

18   Policy for new technologies
18.1   Introduction and framework
18.2   Background
18.3   What are the potential benefits of interactive gambling?
18.4   What are the costs of interactive gambling?
18.5   Non-regulatory responses to problems
18.6   Are non-regulatory responses enough, or are regulatory controls warranted?
18.7   To what extent can internet gambling be controlled?
18.8   Current policy responses by Australian governments
18.9   Policy options for internet gambling

19   The taxation of gambling
19.1   Introduction
19.2   The changing pattern of gambling tax revenue
19.3   The importance of gambling taxes in state and territory revenues
19.4   The role of Commonwealth/State financial arrangements
19.5   Differences in revenue collected between types of gambling
19.6   Are the levels of gambling taxes appropriate?
19.7   Design issues

20   Earmarking
20.1   Earmarking revenue for problem gambling services
20.2   Earmarking for other programs
20.3   Conclusions

21   Mutuality
21.1   Introduction
21.2   What is the mutuality principle?
21.3   Clubs, mutuality and taxation
21.4   The club industry
21.5   What are the economic grounds for the mutuality principle?
21.6   The consequences of growth
21.7   Can anything be done?

22   Regulatory processes and institutions
22.1   Introduction
22.2   What regulatory functions need to be undertaken?
22.3   Towards a blueprint for gambling regulation

23   Information issues
23.1   Introduction
23.2   Some specific information gaps
23.3   Better processes are also needed
23.4   What role for the ABS?

Volume 3

Cover, Contents


A   Participation and public consultation
A.1   The research team
A.2   Visits with individuals and organisations
A.3   Roundtables
A.4   Public hearings and submissions
A.5   Public submissions

B   Participation in gambling: data tables

C   Estimating consumer surplus
C.1   What is consumer surplus?
C.2   Consumer surplus in gambling industries
C.3   The commission's estimates
C.4   The results

D   The sensitivity of the demand for gambling to price changes

E   Gambling in indigenous communities

F   National Gambling Survey
F.1   Introduction
F.2   The questionnaire
F.3   Phase 1 — the screener questionnaire
F.4   Phase 2 — the main questionnaire
F.5   Sample size and stratification
F.6   Procedures for selecting respondents
F.7   Quotas and weighting
F.8   Other survey protocols
F.9   Conduct of the survey
F.10   Response rates in gambling prevalence surveys
F.11   Contact and participation rates achieved
F.12   The questionnaire

G   Survey of Clients of Counselling Agencies
G.1   Basic design and purpose
G.2   Preliminary aspects
G.3   Question by question
G.4   Interviewer instructions and questionnaire

H   Problem gambling and crime
H.1   Introduction
H.2   Why do some problem gamblers turn to crime?
H.3   What proportion of problem gamblers commit offences?
H.4   Is there a causal link between problem gambling and crime?
H.5   What crimes do problem gamblers commit?
H.6   How reliable are police/court statistics on gambling related crime?
H.7   What happens to problem gamblers who are convicted?

I   Regional data analysis
I.1   Data sources and issues
I.2   Methodology
I.3   Results

J   Measuring costs
J.1   Introduction
J.2   Measuring components of cost

K   Recent US estimates of the costs of problem gambling

L   Survey of Counselling Services
L.1   Purpose
L.2   Methodology
L.3   Response rate
L.4   Survey results
L.5   Agencies participating in the survey
L.6   The questionnaire

M   Gambling taxes

N   Gaming machines: some international comparisons
N.1   Characteristics of machines of relevance to problem gambling
N.2   Market segments

O   Displacement of illegal gambling?

P   Spending by problem gamblers
P.1   Definitions of spending
P.2   Some stylised facts about gambling expenditure
P.3   Problem gambling expenditure by gambling mode
P.4   Estimating the overall share of expenditure accounted for by problem gamblers
P.5   Estimating the expenditure share of moderate versus severe problem gamblers
P.6   Standard errors

Q   Who are the problem gamblers?
Q.1   Introduction
Q.2   Socio-economic patterns problem gamblers
Q.3   What are the general patterns that emerge?

R   Bankruptcy and gambling

S   State and territory gambling data

T   Divorce and separations
T.1   The Commission's data
T.2   Surveys of divorcees
T.3   The logistic approach
T.4   Regional studies
T.5   Summary

U   How gaming machines work
U.1   How do poker machines work?
U.2   Game returns and the price of ‘gambling’
U.3   Game volatility
U.4   Game duration
U.5   The impact of recycling wins
U.6   The gambler’s fallacy
U.7   The case of Black Rhino

V   Use of the SOGS in Australian gambling surveys
V.1   Australian gambling surveys
V.2   Use of the SOGS in Australian surveys