Formative investigation into the effectiveness of gambling venue exclusion processes in New Zealand
Bellringer, M; Coombes, R; Pulford, J; Abbott, M
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Exclusion of patrons from gambling venues is potentially an effective early intervention for minimising harm from excessive gambling since it may contribute to the treatment and/or recovery of people with developing and established gambling problems. Internationally, some jurisdictional regulations mandate „imposed exclusion‟ programmes, where gamblers with problems are identified by venue staff (usually casinos) and barred from gambling at those venues. In other jurisdictions, „self-exclusion‟ programmes are in place, where gamblers may request that they be banned from the venue, removed from its mailing list and potentially face legal consequences if they re-enter the premises. Traditionally, such self-exclusion programmes have been operated by casinos but increasingly are being required for clubs and pubs where electronic gaming machines are located. In New Zealand, The Gambling Act 2003 stipulates that both imposed- and self- exclusion measures should be operated. The Act refers to these exclusion measures as an "order‟ but colloquial use of the term "contract‟ has been used throughout this report due to the word usage amongst participants in this research and in the literature. However, there is a paucity of research regarding the effectiveness of gambling venue exclusion processes per se and even less information outside the casino environment. In addition, the effectiveness of the particular processes in force in New Zealand has not been evaluated. Currently, different processes are operated by different venues, for example with variations in minimum and maximum exclusion periods, and different requirements for re-entering the gambling venue when an exclusion contract comes to an end. Given that exclusion programmes consume private and public resources and are a legislated requirement, it is important that their effectiveness be ascertained. This will have substantial implications in terms of the potential to improve existing processes to ensure maximum minimisation of harms from gambling. In August 2008, the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre at Auckland University of Technology was commissioned by the Ministry of Health to conduct the research project Formative investigation into the effectiveness of gambling venue exclusion processes in New Zealand. The purpose of this project was two-fold: a) to ascertain the most suitable methodology and processes for researching venue excluders in order to robustly evaluate the effectiveness of current venue exclusion processes, and b) to gain some initial insight into the effectiveness of gambling (particularly electronic gaming machine and casino) venue exclusion processes in New Zealand.