It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation. In fact, I’ve given them a fair whack on this blog, and they deserve it. But there is one area where the VCGR does well, probably better than any other gambling regulatory body in this country, and that’s transparency of data.
The VCGR website contains a mountain of information about the gambling industry in Victoria. I’ve blogged about this before, specifically comparing them with the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing website… which is woeful in the extreme. Recently, however, the VCGR made some significant changes to their website, and the result is impressive.
Let’s take my home City of Casey as an example. Drilling down through the Research & Statistics page, you can find data on every local government area in the state. Previously this data covered a basic map of the area, monthly EGM expenditure and a breakdown of the relevant venues.
This data is still available, although the map has been enhanced to show different areas or suburbs.
But it’s the data that has been added that makes a real difference. The VCGR now reports detailed expenditure details across each LGA, over a four year period, and includes population, unemployment and disadvantage data. You can see that Casey ranks quite well compared to the rest of the state, but not so well when compared to the rest of the metro area.
Still the VCGR goes one step further. The reason that the map has been broken into different areas, is because specific data covering these areas is then presented.
This data is worth its weight in gold. Compare Berwick with Cranbourne, for example; Cranbourne has significantly higher levels of unemployment and disadvantage than Cranbourne, which is a telling statistic when the map clearly shows that Cranbourne also has more than twice as many pokie venues.
I’m still not a fan of the VCGR. But I have to admit that they should be applauded for making this data freely available to the public, especially when institutions such as the NSW OLGR will charge you hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars for similar (less extensive) information.