ATM Ban Helps Problem Gamblers - Report
16 September 2013 at 3:15 pm
An independent evaluation of the banning of ATMs at Victorian gaming venues has found that problem gamblers have significantly reduced their spending on gaming machines since its introduction.
From July 1, 2012, ATMs were prohibited in gaming venues in Victoria. The Victorian Government funded an evaluation of the effectiveness of the ban by Swinburne University of Technology.
The study included more than 900 player interviews; 164 surveys of venue patrons; 14 interviews with problem and ex-gamblers; 40 interviews with stakeholders including industry, venues, government and the community sector; and observations at 89 venues.
The report found the ATM ban has had positive effects on gambling behaviour in the Victorian community, not just for problem gamblers but also for at risk and recreational players.
The report said the ban has also been effective in reducing harm for problem gamblers, reducing the amount of time spent playing gaming machines generally and reducing impulse spending on gaming.
It found that the ban has also been an effective consumer protection measure with lower risk players spending less time and curbing their impulsive decisions to spend.
Year on year the reduction in the amount spent on gaming machines is about 7 per cent, with problem gamblers spending about $90 less each time they play gaming machines, the report said.
Some key findings of the report include:
on average, problem gamblers were spending $90 less per visit at hotels and $43 less at clubs after the removal of ATMs;
moderate risk gamblers were spending an average of $37 less at hotels and $18 less at clubs;
the reduced access to in-house cash facilities has had an impact on the behaviour of both groups (high spend gamblers and low spend gamblers) but it has been particularly effective in reducing typical spending for problem gamblers who habitually spend very large sums in a single session;
high spend problem gamblers were much more likely to say they frequently withdrew additional money to gamble over and above what they planned prior to the removal of ATMs (80 per cent compared to 47 per cent);
the frequency of doing this dropped dramatically after the removal of ATMs for both groups, with high spend gamblers who did this frequently dropping to 46 per cent, while low spend gamblers dropped to 12 per cent.
Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Edward O’Donohue, said following the release of the report, the ban on ATMs at gaming venues has been an outstanding success for the Victorian Government.
The full Report on the evaluation of the removal of ATMs from gaming venues in Victoria can be downloaded here.