Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences


Research

Current research projects


  1. Secondary Analysis of HSC: Data on youth and Asian components of GABS
  2. Inclusion of a Gambling Module in the Youth07 Research Programme: Youth07 is a follow-up to Youth2000 - New Zealand’s first national youth health and wellbeing survey. CGS entered a collaborative relationship with the Adolescent Health Research Group, The University of Auckland, who are responsible for Youth07. A brief module of gambling questions was developed to gain information on the gambling practices of high school students throughout New Zealand.
  3. PhD Research: There is currently one PhD candidate based at CGS: Samoan Gambling Practices: Lana Perese's thesis aims to improve the understanding of how gambling impacts on the lives of Pacific peoples. Lana's PhD has adopted a community participatory action approach in relation to Samoan gambling. 

Recently completed research projects


  1. Effectiveness of Problem Gambling Intervention Services: CGS has been commissioned by the Ministry of Health to conduct a research project to investigate the effectiveness of intervention services for problem gambling in New Zealand. There has been very little research in New Zealand on the effectiveness of treatment models for problem gambling. The purpose of this initial research is to provide a better understanding of the range of treatment approaches utilised in New Zealand and whom they are effective for. Final report currently under review.
  2. Crime and Gambling: AUT University and The Centre for Gambling Studies, The University of Auckland have jointly gained a new Ministry of Health Contract to conduct formative research into the links between gambling (including problem gambling) and crime (focus on unreported crimes committed by gamblers). The project will investigate crime in relation to gambling using focus groups and interviews with gamblers, their families and stakeholders. Final report currently under review.
  3. Waitakere City Council: Exploratory Research for the May 2007 Gambling Policy Review: A small qualitative research project was commissioned by Waitakere City Council to provide some exploratory data from key interviews with stakeholders to assist the council in their review of the current gambling policy in Waitakere. Completed in February 2007.
  4. Gambling Related Public Health: Proposal for a Workforce Development Strategy and Best Practice Model: CGS was commissioned in 2006 by the Ministry of Health to conduct a small research project in problem gambling public health workforce development. The objectives were to develop and deliver a gambling specific training package for the wider public health workforce and to develop a longer term workforce development strategy and a best practice model. Completed in December, 2006.
  5. Developing a Community Indicators Model: The Impact of Gambling on Communities: CGS was commissioned by the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand in 2005 to develop a community indicators model to assess, monitor and evaluate the impact of gambling opportunities on communities. This model is one that community action groups can utilise; it takes the local context into account and is able to be translated into simple action steps. This contract was rolled over to 2006 and CGS worked collaboratively with PGF and a community reference group to design surveys and a manual that the community action groups could utilise for their purposes. Research opportunities to develop a community development pilot programme for this participatory action research are now being pursued. Completed in Sept, 2006.
  6. Identifying and improving Information on Gambling for use by Territorial Local Authorities: This report was commissioned by PGF and aimed to i) identify what gambling impact indicators were readily available to TLAs to utilise in assessing and reviewing their Class 4 gambling venue policies (including the requirement to assess social impact); and, ii) Identify further indicator data and information that would be desirable and could be pursued in the future for collection. Completed in June, 2005.
  7. Why People Gamble: The Why People gamble project begins to explore the question of why New Zealanders choose to gamble and what factors contribute to problem gambling. The project involved collaboration with researchers from AUT and Massey University. Completed in January, 2005.
  8. Host Responsibility for Gambling Venues in New Zealand: The final report of this Ministry of Health funded project provides a comprehensive review and summary of those issues relevant to host responsibility (both international and local). A conceptual framework for best practice host responsibility in gambling venues in New Zealand was developed and recommendations regarding the further development of host responsibility strategies in New Zealand were made (including the need for dissemination and further research to enable the establishment of best practice exemplars, guidelines, training, implementation and evaluation processes). Completed in July 2005.
  9. The Ethics of Receiving Funds from the Proceeds of Gambling: The document arising from this project sets out to identify the ethical and organisational risks associated with community organisations deciding to accept funds from the proceeds of gambling. It also seeks to define ways that community organisations might assess the risks they are taking, as well as exploring longer term prevention strategies that could minimise ethical conflicts of interest as a whole. Completed in January 2005. 
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Research activities and interests


The range of research activities with which CGS has been involved can be grouped into the following four categories:

  1. Public health and community research
    1. Social and economic impact: Very little research has been conducted on the social and economic impact of gambling on New Zealand communities. Officials have recognised this gap in a variety of documents. CGS has initiated research in this area with social impact assessments for TLAs (see below local government response) and the community indicators research (also noted below) and is seeking opportunities to apply for funding on this and related topics. Associated with the centre are a number of health economists and social researchers who are capable of guiding this type of research.
    2. Public health/health promotion: CGS has contributed significantly to the thinking behind gambling as a public health concern. In doing so, it is breaking new ground internationally. CGS was commissioned in 2006 by the Ministry of Health to conduct a small research project in problem gambling public health workforce development. The objectives were to develop and deliver a gambling specific training package for the wider public health workforce and to develop a longer term workforce development strategy and a best practice model. Research and evaluation activities will be important for the purposes of developing a pathway, evaluating effectiveness and sharing approaches with others both here and overseas. The centre will seek to participate in research and evaluation activities associated with PGF public health endeavours.
    3. Community indicators project: CGS was commissioned by the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand to develop a community indicators model to assess, monitor and evaluate the impact of gambling opportunities on communities. This model is one that community action groups can utilise; it takes the local context into account and is able to be translated into simple action steps. This contract was rolled over to 2006 and CGS worked collaboratively with PGF and a community reference group to design surveys and a manual that community action groups can utilise for their own purposes. CGS will pursue research opportunities to develop a community development pilot programme for this participatory action research.
    4. Local Government responses: In line with researching the impact on communities, the centre is aiming to assist the emerging role of local governments in managing the provision of gambling in their regions. The CGS recently completed a major report for the seven territorial authorities in the Auckland region and contributed to social impact assessments for a number of other TA which include Hastings, Wairoa and Taranaki. A smaller project was also conducted which looks to identify and improve information on gambling for use by TLAs. In 2006/2007, a small qualitative research project was commissioned by Waitakere City Council to provide some exploratory data from key interviews with stakeholders to assist the council in their review of the current gambling policy in Waitakere. CGS believes it is important to maintain good relationships with local councils and assist them where possible.
    5. Host responsibility: CGS has recently completed a contract for the Ministry of Health Public Health Directorate which developed a conceptual framework for best practice host responsibility in gambling venues in New Zealand. Dissemination and further research is required to enable the establishment of best practise exemplars, guidelines, training, implementation and evaluation processes.
    6. Māori gambling: CGS together with the Section of Māori Health within the school is developing projects to improve the understanding of the impact of gambling on the wellbeing of Māori. Several Māori researchers within the school have a special interest in Māori gambling and CGS is networking with other Māori in community and research organisations outside the school.
    7. Samoan gambling: CGS together with the school’s Pacific Health section aims to participate in research to improve the understanding of how gambling impacts on the lives of Pacific peoples. Currently, Lana Perese is being supervised in a community participatory action PhD project on Samoan gambling. Her placement in the centre has enabled her to advise others on their responsiveness to the needs of Pacific People.
    8. Asian service development: The School of Population Health, in which the centre is based, has formed a Centre for Asian Health Research and Evaluation (CAHRE) within which three members of CGS are on the steering committee. Dr Samson Tse, director of CAHRE, has instigated a number of projects focusing on Asian gambling and together with the PGF Asian team.
    9. Youth gambling: The centre has participated in a range of youth gambling projects which include the formulation of a youth development strategy and projects regarding gambling and youth. Fiona Rossen is currently completing a PhD on youth gambling behaviour. This has entailed a major youth gambling survey with an academic focus on resiliency and protective factors. An approach that is in accordance with the current orientation underpinning the national Youth Development Strategy.
    10. Crime and gambling: Dr Robert Brown undertook the first systematic surveys of problem gambling among prison inmates and offenders serving community sentences; and set up the first educational/harm reduction courses on gambling for prison inmates. He is currently working with the Department of Corrections on their review of the Department's Policy on Volunteering to assist in the rehabilitation of inmates and offenders who gamble. Members from the Centre for Gambling Studies (namely Robert Brown, Brian McKenna, Lisa Campbell and Lorna Dyall) and Auckland University of Technology have recently jointly gained a new Ministry of Health Contract to conduct formative research into the links between gambling (including problem gambling) and crime (focus on unreported crimes committed by gamblers). The project will investigate crime in relation to gambling using focus groups and interviews with gamblers, their families and stakeholders.
  2. Treatment research
    1. Clinical expertise: CGS is part of a faculty that specialises in the advanced training of health practitioners. The focus and ethos is on how to improve health through improvements in practice. Several members of CGS have advanced backgrounds in clinical disciplines which include clinical psychology, general practice, community psychology and medicine. The centre aims to develop treatment research as part of its core activities.
    2. Effectiveness of intervention services: CGS was commissioned by the Ministry of Health to conduct a research project in 2006/7 to investigate the effectiveness of intervention services for problem gambling in New Zealand. There has been very little research in New Zealand on the effectiveness of treatment models for problem gambling. The purpose of this initial research is to provide a better understanding of the range of treatment approaches utilised in New Zealand and whom they are effective for.
    3. Public health and treatment collaborations: CGS is actively working on developing good relationships with various treatment and public health providers (eg, PGF, Oasis, Gambling Helpline, Tupu Services, Te Rangihaeata Oranga, Niu Developments, Te Herenga Waka o Te Ora Whanau, Health Promotion Forum) to develop and support research activities and to assist in providing better outcomes for the sector.
  3. Behavioural research
    1. Behavioural and new technologies research: Associated with the centre are a number of behavioural psychologists. One area of particular concern is the improving electronic and psychological technologies that are being built into gambling machines. Given the current importance of gambling machines, a key area to research is the effectiveness of modifications that are likely to reduce harmfulness to problem gamblers and other frequent gamblers. The centre is seeking funding to develop this area more fully.
    2. Why do people gamble?: CGS has recently completed a major HRC-funded project that begins to explore the question of why New Zealanders choose to gamble and what factors contribute to problem gambling. The project involved collaboration with AUT and researchers at Massey University.
  4. Education and training
    1. Workforce development: CGS is positioned as part of the Section of Social and Community Health within the School of Population Health. This section provides advanced training in the fields of alcohol and drug studies, mental health and health promotion. The section is looking to incorporate gambling as specialist streams within these broader programmes.
    2. Postgraduate training: The section currently offers a post-graduate course on gambling that focuses on grounding students in intervention approaches to treatment, health promotion, prevention/protection and cultural needs. The course has been designed as an adjunct to the well-established postgraduate certificate/diploma/masters track for practitioners in the alcohol and other drug field. Gambling practitioners are now able to enrol in the programme and concentrate most of their study, practice and supervision on gambling issues.
    3. Short course training: The centre is planning the development of short-course training for generic and specialist practitioners working with gambling issues.
    4. Research degrees: The centre is supporting several masters and PhD students and the research projects they have undertaken to complete their degrees. Academic staff are available to support more projects in this area. 
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