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Change and continuity in a help-seeking problem gambling population: A five-year record*

Alun C. Jackson, Shane A. Thomas, Tangerine A. Holt, Neil Thomason


This paper provides an overview of some trends among problem gamblers seeking help through the BreakEven/Gambler's Help problem gambling counselling services in Victoria, Australia, between July 1995 and June 2000. Data presented are drawn from details collected on clients at registration, assessment, and all other client contacts to form a Problem Gambling Services minimum data set (MDS). Analysis of the MDS shows a number of noteworthy trends towards continuity or change. A major element of continuity is the ability of the service to attract women, who constitute around 50% of the clients for the period. Major changes include the increasing trend towards presentation of clients at an earlier stage in their "career" as problem gamblers. Also identified is persistence or change in client characteristics, such as gender differences in gambling activity and problem type and level. In addition, a range of other factors are explored, such as level of debt and its associated characteristics, the characteristics of people committing crimes to finance their gambling, and the differences between people presenting for counselling and problem gamblers in the community.


problem gambling; help-seeking; gambling-specific services

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