Post-print of: Breen, H, Buultjens, J & Hing, N 2006, 'Implementing responsible gambling practices in a regional area', Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 23-43.
Publisher's version of article available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1375/jhtm.13.1.23
In recognition that they largely control the context in which legalised gambling is operated, state governments in Australia have taken an increasingly active role in encouraging the gambling industry to implement responsible gambling practices. In the state of Queensland, the government introduced the voluntary Queensland Responsible Gambling Code of Practice in May 2002. This paper reports part of a larger study investigating gambling providers’ awareness of this Code, their implementation of its provisions and their views on its likely effectiveness in hotels, casinos and clubs in certain case study areas in remote, regional and urban Queensland. This paper draws only on data for the selected regional area, Townsville. Semi-structured interviews with managers and staff in twelve venues revealed mixed awareness of the Code, limited implementation of its component elements and variable support for its likely effectiveness. However, a committed group of five venue managers was much more proactive in implementing the Code than the remaining venues were and much more supportive of its potential effectiveness. These five venues - two clubs, two hotels and the casino - subsequently formed a responsible gambling consultative committee, a regional network initiated by the local Centacare welfare agency. The experience of this committee points to numerous benefits that a network such as this can provide in addressing regional challenges in responsible conduct of gambling. As such, this study highlights some of the possible facilitators and challenges in implementing responsible gambling practices in regional areas, particularly those with similar characteristics to Townsville.