Young, M 2010, 'Re-placing geographic accessibility: a response to the Productivity Commission', Gambling Research, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 20-31.
The article is available for download with the permission of the publisher, The National Association of Gambling Studies Australia
Australia has widespread availability of EGMs in pubs and clubs in every jurisdiction bar Western Australia – a type of ‘venue-based convenience gambling’ that is unparalleled in the western world. In this context, the question faced by the Productivity Commission is what value, if any, supply-side approaches to regulation may offer in a spatially-saturated market. I argue in this short review that the control of geographic accessibility has the potential to be extremely useful in minimising gambling-related harm - far more so than credited by the Productivity Commission report. To develop this argument, I first briefly describe the Commission’s approach to gambling management, which is one focused on management of consumer behaviour within venues (i.e. demand) rather than managing the number and distribution of EGMs (i.e. supply). I then unpack the reasons for the Commission’s approach in downplaying the role of accessibility in regulation. I respond to those limitations through a discussion of recent research in local-area accessibility studies not specifically considered by the Productivity Commission (2010) report. I argue that recent advances in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) may offer fruitful directions in making accessibility studies both more applied and locally-relevant. I conclude by presenting a future for gambling management that incorporates local-area accessibility studies that are predictive, locally-based, integrative, and applicable at a range of scales.