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J Gambl Stud. 2002 Fall;18(3):273-91.

The evolving market structures of gambling: case studies modelling the socioeconomic assignment of gaming machines in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia.

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School of Human and Environmental Studies, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.


The expansion of gambling industries worldwide is intertwined with the growing government dependence on gambling revenue for fiscal assignments. In Australia, electronic gaming machines (EGMs) have dominated recent gambling industry growth. As EGMs have proliferated, growing recognition has emerged that EGM distribution closely reflects levels of socioeconomic disadvantage. More machines are located in less advantaged regions. This paper analyses time-series socioeconomic distributions of EGMs in Melbourne, Australia, an immature EGM market, and then compares the findings with the mature market in Sydney. Similar findings in both cities suggest that market assignment of EGMs transcends differences in historical and legislative environments. This indicates that similar underlying structures are evident in both markets. Modelling the spatial structures of gambling markets provides an opportunity to identify regions most at risk of gambling related problems. Subsequently, policies can be formulated which ensure fiscal revenue from gambling can be better targeted towards regions likely to be most afflicted by excessive gambling-related problems.

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