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Evidence and Social Policy: the case of gambling

Chairman's speech

Gary Banks gave a presentation to the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies in Adelaide on 30 March 2011.

Contents

Introduction

Social policy is harder
People are complicated
Collecting good data is hard
Policy outcomes can take a while
Hard to compare 'like with like'
Assessment often must depend on what people say
Intangible and value-driven trade-offs
A reasonable standard of 'proof' is called for

The case of gambling policy
The Commission's pursuit of evidence

Why is gambling a policy 'problem'?
Estimating costs versus benefits
Not (just) a 'medical' problem
Gaming machines should be the main focus of harm minimisation

Policy options

The dollar bet limit

Pre-commitment
Voluntary schemes have limited effectiveness
The requirements
Design issues
What about the costs?

The way forward