A recent research study by Australia’s National University regarding the behaviour of construction workers in remote areas, found that a large percent of the workers were problem gamblers. In researcher Bruce Doran’s study, nearly eleven percent of these mobile workers at Queensland had gambling problems as they usually worked in remote locations around the nation away from family members. The study revealed that this gambling problem was aggravated by social and physical isolation that these mobile workers faced in alien surroundings. It is disturbing to note that this isolation is resulting in their financial ruin and making money for casinos and government as poker machines pay around $3 billion in taxes every year.
Gaming and entertainment
In Australia’s there are more than million gaming machines and the largest concentration is in Northern Territory. This is largely due to concentration of FIFO workers in the area that has led to growth of pubs and clubs along with poker machines. Gaming Minster of Northern Territory Peter Styles stated that, these machines provide entertainment and relaxation for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers so the pubs in this area can now have 20 poker machines while clubs can have 55 machines per venue. This law is expected to create fair business zone for operators that were unable to have more machines at their venue due to government cap.
Dangers of expanding gambling machines
Researcher Bruce Doran considers this addition as a greater risk for workers as it will make them more prone to gambling. These pubs and clubs are socializing zones for construction and mine workers where the meet to discuss work or to get tips on finding work after project completion. The study has revealed a disturbing fact that these problem gamblers sometimes spend their entire week’s pay on a few hours of gambling. It also made an encouraging find that these workers avoid gambling when they are involved in a romantic relationship.