The ways in which social capital may be affected by this access to gambling environment (numbers of EGMs and venue size) in combination with the socio-cultural-economic environment (unemployment, income, average age, tourism).
The most recent comparable survey data available related to EGMs (Victorian Government Department of Justice website, 2006) and associated data obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) census website was used in this study.
In terms of the extent to which access to EGMs, both in terms of number and venue size, is significantly related to the local socio-cultural-economic environment (income, unemployment, average age) as well as the location as a tourist destination.
Evident in Table 1, EGMs per 1000 adults was positively linked with the number of visitors from outside Australia (as a proportion of the local population) as well as the unemployment rate.
Overall this suggests that EGM access is regressively linked to lower socio-economic status, but only in terms of the overall numbers of EGMs rather than how those EGMs are then concentrated in terms of venue size.
Examining the extent to which subsequent spending on gambling is related to access to this gambling environment in terms of government policy (in terms of the number of EGMs allowed in an area), EGM industry decisions (EGM suppliers and their strategies in terms of venue size), socio-economic variables (unemployment, income, average age) and the location as a tourist destination, table 3 illustrates the strong role that government and industry policy decisions play.
Table 3 shows EGM spend per adult as strongly and positively linked, unsurprisingly, with both venue size and numbers of EGMs per adult in the LGA (concentration measures).
In addition, given that the other measures are not significant in the regression shown in tables 1 and 2, their influence can therefore be seen as being more strongly related to their roles in determining the concentration of EGMs in an area, as measured by EGMs per 1000 adults and EGMs per venue.
Finally, turning to the ways in which social capital may be affected by this access to gambling environment (numbers of EGMs and venue size) as well as socio-cultural-economic environment (unemployment, income, average age, tourism), table 4 indicates that EGM activity may have a deleterious effect, but only via venue size.
The picture that emerges, therefore, is one where higher spend on EGM gaming is related to concentrations of EGMs (in both absolute number and venue size) and lower socio-economic areas in terms of unemployment.