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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Curtin University research shows why scratchies create gambling-related problems for kids

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Scratchies and lotto tickets are “inappropriate gifts” for youths and can create gambling-related problems, according to a top Perth researcher.

The Curtin University study on “soft forms of gambling” out found the buying the products could lead to psychological problems, financial trouble and personal relationship issues.

Published in international journal Addictive Behaviours, the study engaged with 2112 people and focused on a sample size of 540 Australians who admitted gambling using lottery products only. Lead author Leon Booth said the study found almost one-third of those people reported some level of gambling-related problems because of their use of the products.

“We believe this is because some features of scratchies make them more appealing to problem gamblers, such as instantly letting the user know if they have won a prize and giving users the impression they were close to winning,” Mr Booth said.

“We also found people who are generally vulnerable to developing gambling issues, such as younger adults and males, were most likely to experience problems with lottery gambling.”

Study co-author John Curtin Distinguished Professor Simone Pettigrew, from Curtin’s School of Psychology and The George Institute for Global Health said the research highlighted a need for greater public education on “soft forms of gambling”.

“The public needs to understand that lottery products such as scratchies and lotto tickets are a true form of gambling and are therefore inappropriate gifts for children and youth,” Professor Pettigrew said.

“Lottery products need to be acknowledged as more than harmless fun and a genuine type of gambling, and policy makers should act accordingly to reduce harms that result from these products.

“Our new findings add to an increasing body of evidence showing lottery products are associated with harm in a substantial minority of users.”

The study was co-authored by researchers from Deakin University Institute for Health Transformation, University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The Public Health Association of Australia, and University of Dundee Medical School Division of Population Health & Genomics.

The paper, Gambling-related harms attributable to lotteries products is available online.

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