A report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has revealed that gambling addiction remains a major public health problem, despite the introduction of anti-gambling measures.
The study, released at the end of November, found that more than 20 per cent of Australians surveyed believe that gambling is a problem.
The research also revealed that more Australians are suffering from gambling addiction than were surveyed.
“Gambling addiction is an ongoing public health crisis,” said AIHW’s senior public health researcher, Professor Jennifer Bevan.
“Gambling is an addictive behaviour and there is no easy way to change it.
Gambling addiction can impact on both the individuals and society as a whole.”
The study also found that the prevalence of gambling addiction in Australia is higher than other major developed countries such as the United States, Japan and Canada.
Gambling Addiction Australia is a cross-section of Australia’s major health care providers who work in collaboration to provide the best care for the health and wellbeing of Australians with gambling addictions.
It was established in 2008 and includes Australian GP’s, mental health practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and social workers of all levels, social service providers and health professionals.
“Gathering information on gambling addiction and other gambling related problems is a critical part of our public health efforts,” Dr Bevan said.
“Our goal is to improve the health of Australians by identifying and helping individuals who may be at risk of developing gambling addiction and developing effective interventions to help them.”
The report also found a significant number of Australians aged 16-64 were gambling addicts.
While there are no national statistics on the prevalence and severity of gambling addicts, there are estimates from several states that around 7 per cent to 12 per cent are.
“The challenge is to provide an accurate picture of the number of people who have gambling addiciton in Australia,” Dr Seebo said.
“While this can be achieved by surveying, interviewing and tracking the people who are gambling, there is also a real need for more targeted research.”
This report will give us the best information possible on the situation in Australia, to better understand the challenges and to guide the way forward in improving the health care system for Australians with addictions.
“The research found that many Australians are unaware that there is a widespread problem with gambling addiction.”
I was surprised to find that the most common way that Australians who have been gambling addicted were identified is through social media,” Dr David Bevan, a former Australian Government Minister, said.
Dr Bevan explained that social media can be used to gather information on individuals and organisations and can be a powerful tool in helping individuals and their families understand what gambling addiction looks like.”
People who are addicted are often unaware of the problem or they don’t know what to do about it,” Dr Steven Bevan from the University of Sydney said.
The report found that one in six Australians who are currently gambling addict do not have any mental health problems.
Australia’s Government is committed to tackling gambling addiction through prevention, education and treatment.
Dr Bevin said that Australia’s Government’s focus on addressing gambling addiction will require more than just the availability of effective anti-sodomy laws and a reduction in the amount of alcohol available.”
There needs to be a focus on reducing the amount that Australians are drinking and getting in to trouble,” Dr Haigh said.
While Australia is not alone in the world when it comes to gambling addiction, Australia is one of the only developed countries where it is still a major health issue.
In Australia, around 20 per 100 people have gambling addiction compared to an average of less than 20 in Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.