The Andrews Labor Government, via the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, will invest AU$600,000 (US$460,000) in new research to examine the impact of Covid-19 on gambling harm.
The funding will come from round 11 of the organisation’s annual Grants for Gambling Research Program, with the theme of the round to be centred around ‘Gambling in Victoria in 2020 — Covid-19 and beyond.’
“We know that throughout the pandemic and the associated lockdown, some Victorians benefitted from an enforced break from in-venue gambling, while others found it incredibly challenging,” said Melissa Horne, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation.
“To be able to plan and respond to gambling harm effectively, we need to know how COVID-19 affected gambling behaviours. This funding will be incredibly beneficial in understanding how those vulnerable to gambling were impacted by the pandemic.”
The implications for associated behaviours and harm will also be analysed, with investigative grants of AU$150,000 over three years to be awarded to three separate research projects. Two mid-career researcher grants of AU$100,000 over two years have also been awarded, as well as an early career researcher grant of AU$50,000 over 18 months.
Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation CEO Shane Lucas added: “The most recent publicly available data shows online race and sports betting increased by 30% compared to the same period the year before. It’s critical we understand and learn from these changes in gambling behaviour.”