Accessibility and gambling-related harm: a commentary on the Productivity Commission's 2010 inquiry into gambling


Thomas, Anna

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Gambling accessibility is an important policy consideration for Governments. The recent Productivity Commission's (2010) review of gambling focussed on geographic and time-based accessibility to electronic gaming machines (EGMs) which have been most clearly associated with gambling-related harm. Based on the evidence, they recommended mandatory, simultaneous, six hour shutdown periods for clubs and hotels. This type of common, extended shutdown is likely to be effective in forcing a break in play for some problem gamblers. However, the effect will be limited to the small minority of people who gamble during the recommended shutdown time periods. The Productivity Commission did not to make any recommendations to reduce geographic accessibi lity to EGM venues. They argued that their proposed pre-commitment system (where consumers set up personal time andlor monetary limits on future gambling) would provide sufficient consumer protection. If this pre-commitment model is not implemented within the near future, or if independent research shows it to be ineffective as a harm minimisation strategy, Governments should revisit the need to substantially reduce geographic accessibility. This should be via stringent restrictions on the number of EGM venues within a set geographical region. This would increase the effort required for EGM visits and encourage consideration of additional, alternative leisure-time options.

Publication year


Publication type

Journal article


Gambling Research, Vol. 22, no. 2 (Nov 2010), pp. 40-45




National Association for Gambling Studies


Copyright © 2010 Anna Thomas. The published version is reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.