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ACT Gambling Survey 2019 has revealed that around 44,000 people in the Australian Capital Territory or 14% of the population were impacted by gambling over the past 12 months. The survey was conducted by the Australian National University’s Centre for Gambling Research and funded by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission.

The survey found 60% of ACT adults participated in some form of gambling activity in the past 12 months.

Dr. Marisa Paterson, Centre Director and lead author, says the report shows the complexity around gambling activity and the impacts of gambling on the Canberra community.

Typically, a loss of savings and spending money were the most common types of harm experienced by those who gamble in the ACT. Emotional impacts were also common, with loved ones reporting arguments, a breakdown in communication, feelings of anger, lack of trust and stress or anxiety.

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“These results are not something we should walk away from and say we’re ok here. We need to seriously consider gambling and its role in our community. Men in the ACT are classified as at-risk or problem gamblers at twice the rate of women. Although online gambling is of particular interest and concern, the findings suggest poker machine use still predicts problem gambling more reliably than participation in any other type of gambling activity,” Dr. Paterson said.

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission CEO David Snowden said it is important to have a conversation with family and friends if you think they may be experiencing harm from gambling.

“Harms from gambling might seem small at first, but it can escalate quickly and significantly impact a person’s life. We encourage you to work together as a community and empower those affected to seek assistance,” Mr. Snowden said.

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“We had 10,000 participants this time, up from about 7000 in 2014 and also interviewed in languages other than English for the first time,” Dr. Paterson said.

The report was released as part of Gambling Harm Awareness Week, which ran from October 21 to 27.

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