#887 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 11 May 2014.
In the battle for effective reform of the gambling industry in the interests of public health, courageous legislation must be backed up by good, reliable evidence-based research.
But according to a new report by a team of anthropologists from the University of London, academic research into gambling is heavily biased and controlled by industry and government.
Research questions are shaped by political and industry agendas, rather than questions of public good; and the gambling industry withholds crucial data and access, impairing the ability of researchers to build the evidence base for their recommendations.
This allows politicians and industry lobbyists to claim “lack of evidence” when crucial and effective reforms are proposed. What we need is independent and well-funded research on the uncomfortable issues, on the causes of gambling harm and how to ensure public health – something that neither governments nor the gambling industry seem inclined to want.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.