An emerging body of research has documented an association between problem gambling and domestic violence in a range of study populations and locations. Yet little research has analysed this relationship at ecological scales. This study investigates the proposition that gambling accessibility and the incidence of domestic violence might be linked. The association between police-recorded domestic violence and electronic gaming machine accessibility is described at the postcode level. Police recorded family incidents per 10,000 and domestic-violence related physical assault offenses per 10,000 were used as outcome variables. Electronic gaming machine accessibility was measured as electronic gaming machines per 10,000 and gambling venues per 100,000. Bayesian spatio-temporal mixed-effects models were used to estimate the associations between gambling accessibility and domestic violence, using annual postcode-level data in Victoria, Australia between 2005 and 2014, adjusting for a range of covariates. Significant associations of policy-relevant magnitudes were found between all domestic violence and EGM accessibility variables. Postcodes with no electronic gaming machines were associated with 20% (95% credibility interval [C.I.]: 15%, 24%) fewer family incidents per 10,000 and 30% (95% C.I.: 24%, 35%) fewer domestic-violence assaults per 10,000, when compared with postcodes with 75 electronic gaming machine per 10,000. The causal relations underlying these associations are unclear. Quasi-experimental research is required to determine if reducing gambling accessibility is likely to reduce the incidence of domestic violence.
Markham, F, Doran, B & Young, M 2016, 'The relationship between electronic gaming machine accessibility and police-recorded domestic violence: a spatio-temporal analysis of 654 postcodes in Victoria, Australia, 2005–2014', Social Science & Medicine, vol. 162, pp. 106-114.
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