Christopher Hunt, a clinical psychologist at the clinic, said the recent release of the Productivity Commission’s report on gambling and the record sums of money that have been wagered on soccer World Cup events highlighted the extent of problem gambling within Australia.
“In particular, the Productivity Commission estimates that the social cost of problem gambling in this country could be as high as $4.7 billion a year,” he said.
“However, what may surprise many people is that there is no definitive answer to the question of what is the best way to help individuals who have experienced difficulties related to gambling.
“Whilst we do have some available therapies that have a good evidence base to indicate they may be successful, these treatments have not yet been comprehensively tested against each other and thus we can not be certain which provides the best treatment for gamblers in the long term.”
Mr Hunt said the trial will provide treatment to poker machine gamblers in one of three treatment modalities: cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and imaginal desensitisation.
‘We know that these treatments all provide some short term benefit to gamblers, but what we really want to know is what will be best at stopping gamblers in the long term.”
The trial will begin in mid-July, and will be headed by Professor Alex Blaszczynski, who is the director of the Gambling Treatment Clinic. Professor Blaszczynski has had over 30 years experience in treating and conducting research into problem gambling.
Professor Blaszczynski said the new trial presented an exciting new opportunity to conduct some high quality research into problem gambling, that would be highly informative for the sector.
For more information, please contact the University of Sydney Gambling Treatment Clinic by email or at one of its three locations:
- Camperdown and Darlington 9351 6346
- Lidcombe and Parramatta 9036 7329
- Campbelltown 9036 9336
For more information, visit the Gambling Treatment Clinic website.
Media enquiries: Rachel Gleeson, 0403 067 342, 9351 4312, [email protected]