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Epidemiological study of gambling in the non-metropolitan region of Central Queensland
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Grant Schofield, G Dickson, William Mummery, Wei Wang
Objective: The purpose of the research was to provide a contemporary description of the gambling behaviours of people in Central Queensland. Design: The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), a clinical diagnostic tool for identifying problem and pathological gamblers was utilised. Setting: Central Queensland extends from Bundaberg to Mackay and west to the Queensland – Northern Territory border. The region incorporates a number of rural and regional centres and the major centres of Rockhampton, Gladstone, Mackay and Bundaberg. Subjects: Computer-aided telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of 1029 adults. Main outcome measurea: a comparison of CQ gambling rates with national averages. Results: Over 90% of the population had engaged in some form of gambling activity in the past month. One point eight percent of the sample fulfilled criteria for ‘problem gambling’. The prevalence of ‘probable pathological gambling’, was 0.8%. An additional 1% of the population were identified as being ‘problem gamblers’. These rates are slightly lower than the Australian average identified by the Productivity Commission in 1999. Nonetheless, they indicate the presence of a large number of individuals affected by problem gambling. Conclusions: Comparisons of these data with treatment statistics available from the regional counselling service for problem gamblers indicate that the majority of these gamblers do not seek treatment. It is clear that many gamblers with serious pathology go undetected and untreated. General practitioners are suggested as one appropriate point for screening and further referral. A whole-of-government approach to problem and pathological gambling is also advocated.