Over the next eight weeks Canberrans are being urged to pick up the phone when it rings and share their experiences with gambling - all in the name of research.
Researchers at the Australian National University will on Monday begin the third survey of Canberrans' participation in and attitudes towards gambling, in a bid to provide evidence that will inform government policy-making.
While the study is commissioned by the ACT government, the work is independent, said director of the Centre for Gambling Research Marisa Paterson.
"We have a real culture of gambling in Canberra and Australia so this is an opportunity to understand the participation levels and the harm in our community," she said.
The first survey took place in 2009 and the second in 2014.
When it comes to studying gambling participation and attitudes, the rate at which the industry is changing has meant researchers have in some cases had to completely overhaul the questions asked five years ago.
The last time the survey was done in 2014, researchers asked participants if they gambled "on the internet," but that question is now largely irrelevant, as betting through smart phone apps has provided many channels for people to gamble that go beyond putting a bet on the footy.
"You can buy lotto tickets and scratchies online now," Dr Paterson said, explaining how even the most analogue gambles have moved online.
"Online encompasses everything ... we've had to define and refine the gambling activities [we ask about]."
Dr Paterson is hoping in this survey to find out if there is a link between gaming and gambling, with many smart-phone games encouraging users to make extra purchases once they are playing the game.
"There’s a growing amalgamation between gaming and gambling, so we really want to start to ask the community about how much they're spending online through games," she said.
"Does that then normalise gambling expenditure online? So there's lines of enquiry that are interesting to us academically."
It's not just the questions that have changed in 2019, with the survey calling mobile numbers as well as landlines, and the number of people surveyed jumping from 7000 to 10,000.
"Last time it became very difficult to reach a broad range of the population through landlines," Dr Paterson said.
The survey will also contribute to nation-wide knowledge about gambling, with questions designed with the help of an advisory group of researchers from around Australia to fit in with surveys undertaken in other jurisdictions to allow for comparisons between states and territories.
"What we've done with this survey is try to make it as comparable with other jurisdictions as possible, which is very hard because often surveys are not disclosed."
The survey starts on April 1 and will run for eight weeks.
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