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Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform
18/06/2012
Prevention and treatment of problem gambling

THOMAS, Dr Samantha Louise, Private capacity

Committee met at 12:49

CHAIR ( Mr Wilkie ): Good afternoon, everyone. We welcome Dr Samantha Thomas from Monash University. Thank you for making yourself available to speak to the committee about your research. We have been provided with your paper Conceptualisations of gambling risks and benefits. This research is very relevant to this committee's current inquiry into the prevention and treatment of problem gambling. You have been provided with information on parliamentary privilege. I invite you to make an opening statement. We will no doubt break in at various points with questions.

Dr Thomas : I will start by talking about the research. Feel free to interrupt and ask questions; we can make it more informal this time. This study was one of the first of its kind. What we were looking for in this study was to get a really good and quite detailed picture of the range of different ways in which people interact with gambling. It is unique because it actually does not just focus on problem gamblers but looks at a range of different gamblers, from those who are very low risk right the way through to those who are ex-problem gamblers. We were looking for a couple of things in particular. We were looking at how gamblers conceptualise risk and benefits associated with gambling, why they gamble and some of the sociocultural drivers of gambling. I will start with a couple of points and then we can have a broader discussion.

We had 100 people in the study. It is qualitative, so there were very detailed interviews with people. About half of the people in our sample were non-problem or low-risk gamblers and about half were moderate-risk or problem gamblers according to the Problem Gambling Severity Index, which, as you know, is the screening tool that we use to classify gambling behaviour.

Mr CIOBO: Is that based on selection or based on random—

Dr Thomas : That is a really good question. We employ strategic sampling methods. In this study, rather than just taking a convenient sample—which is what happens most of the time in qualitative research—we actually targeted various areas. We wanted to make sure that we had a range of different people, with a range of different types of behaviours. For example, we know in most studies that problem gamblers are quite often recruited from gamblers help organisations, which means that you really are just getting a very particular type of person who already is seeking help. We did things like stood outside venues and TABs and asked people to take part when they came out, we stood outside sporting grounds and we placed notices through social media. At each step of the recruitment, we were looking for a different type of person, so we went to different areas to get those. There is quite a good, diverse range of people in the sample. We also included a small number of people who classified themselves as ex-problem gamblers, who had sought help and been through that process.

The main thing that I think is really interesting about this study is around conceptualisation of risk. For me there are three clear groups that interact with gambling in very particular ways. The first are low-risk gamblers. The clear defining factor about low-risk gamblers is the fear of losing money, so they do not engage in gambling, because they do not want to lose money. Moderate-risk gamblers are quite different. They are generally younger—young men, for example—and generally engage in things like sports betting; they have a range of different types of behaviours and are more regular gamblers. For young men, for moderate-risk gamblers, the main driving factor of engaging in gambling is social. They want the win, but the really clear drive is to be with your mates and to have an excuse to get together with your mates to gamble. For that group of gamblers they want to win, but winning is secondary to being with your mates and having a good, fun, social time. Problem gamblers are somewhat different again because, instead of wanting to win, they need to win. That is the clear defining factor of this group. It motivates everything that they do—that need to win, that need to recover losses and so on. So we can see automatically three quite distinct clusters of people with quite distinct clusters of behaviour.

Mr CIOBO: Is the need you refer to a psychological need to win, a financial need to win?

Dr Thomas : That is a good question. Most of that is financial—a financial need to win, a financial need to recover your losses. For problem gamblers there is a really interesting thing about perceptions of control. One of the things I find really interesting about problem gamblers and those in the moderate-risk category is that they know they cannot beat the system. They know that, over time, they will not come out ahead. But on that day maybe, just maybe, they will beat the machine.

Mr NEUMANN: Was that the moderate gamblers?

Dr Thomas : That is the problem gamblers. Everyone across all the groups knows that the system is bigger than them and that overall, in the long run, they will not come out on top but thinks that maybe—this is for the problem gamblers—they will win on that day against the machine or the table or whatever it is. With moderate-risk gamblers, there is something very interesting, because they really downplay the risks associated with their gambling. A lot of moderate risk gamblers—people that just sit under the 'problem gambling' definition, so they are not gambling so regularly and sometimes they may bounce in and out of the 'problem gambling' category if they binge and so on—are very, very focused on personal responsibility: 'I should be able to control myself. I can take responsibility. I am in control.'

One of the things that we found within the study, particularly with younger men, is the way in which they conceptualise or perceive having a problem with gambling. They have this very stereotyped view of what a problem gambler looks like: 'A problem gambler is older; they are addicted to the pokies; they have lost everything; they are stupid; their relationships are failing; they have been in jail.' This is what I call some of the boomerang effects or unintended consequences of the way in which we classified or created a picture of what a problem gambler looks like. Moderate-risk gamblers quite often will not seek help, because they think: 'I don't look like that. When I have responsibilities, then I'll stop gambling. If I have a family, then I'll stop gambling.'

The risk profile for this group changes quite a lot as they go through. At the moment, they say: 'I've got nothing to lose. If I lose $5,000, it doesn't matter. I have no family. I don't have a mortgage. I have cash to spare. But, if I get those things, then I'll stop.' As we all know, that creates a very risky sort of seesaw effect. Some people can. They have a family and they do stop. For others, it is much more difficult. I guess what we have concluded from the study is that it is really important to start to think about this moderate-risk group and creating preventative strategies for them.

CHAIR: What are their views on solutions? It is interesting. Different groups have quite different mindsets. What do the people within the different groups think are the solutions?

Dr Thomas : I think first of all we have to be really careful that we do not have this 'one size fits all' approach to gambling, because, as we have seen in the study, people have very different relationships with different types of products. I will start with pokies, because that is always of interest. I think there are a couple of things that we saw from people who had problems with gambling and who particularly had problems with pokies, in the way that they would like to see things improved. The first thing is around self-exclusion strategies. We saw very clearly in the study that self-exclusion strategies were quite ineffective as they currently exist. One lady that we spoke to said that she had banned herself from three venues in her area, but two of those venues turned a blind eye. We talk about this in the report. We have a quote from her, saying that she sits in the venue expecting to get the tap on the shoulder, and that tap on the shoulder never comes. There is only one venue that very strictly adheres to that. Then she goes on to describe how she is trying to help herself. She says, 'I'm trying really hard not to go to the venues.' I think that is interesting, because we are still putting the responsibility back on the individual not to go to the venue, because the systems are not adequate to be able to deal with them.

CHAIR: So the gamblers are looking to the venue to provide some protection?

Dr Thomas : Yes.

CHAIR: And the venues are looking to the gamblers to—

Dr Thomas : To stay out.

CHAIR: to control their behaviour. There is a fundamental disconnect. Everyone is expecting everyone else.

Dr Thomas : Yes. I think so. Again, we have got this complete mismatch between the expectations of both. The other thing that came out which was quite interesting was around the time period of exclusion. We had one lady who said to us that she had excluded herself, but she could only exclude herself for a maximum of two years. At the end of that two years, she had relapsed. She had gone to the venue and said: 'I need to extend this. I need to do another two years, but I actually want to ban myself permanently.' The response was: 'You can't do that. Let's give it two years, because after that you might be all right.' Here we have people who want to ban themselves permanently but cannot under the existing system. Again, there is nothing wrong with having a six-month, one-year, two-year period of self-exclusion but there should also be an option for people to ban themselves permanently if they want to. Self-exclusion came up again and again.

The other thing that was really interesting is how conflicted people are around seeking help or excluding but knowing if they do that they may lose the only form of social connectedness that they experience within their community. I think we have got into a pretty tragic situation in our Australian communities, particularly for older people and more vulnerable people, where the only place that they can get connected with other people is within a gambling venue.

We spoke to one man in his late 80s who said, 'I know I have a problem. I want to exclude but they are so nice to me, they are so friendly. They celebrate my birthday, they have my name and call me by name and they say hello and so on.' There is this real tension because there is no alternative. If you ban yourself you become even more isolated. Where do you go and what is the alternative and how then can we start to work to create alternatives and alternative places, particularly for older adults, to go into be connected? I think that was interesting.

There were a range of things that came up around venues. Removal of ATMs came up as a very strong recommendation. Limiting opening hours was another. One man said that he had sat for a number of days at a casino. We have this quote in the report where he says, 'I lived on sugary sweets and chips and my health deteriorated'—just sitting there in that zone forgetting time and so on.

There are a number of interesting recommendations but also, from across all of the people in our study, a clear desire, a clear recognition, that we need some more regulation around this industry.

CHAIR: Was there much of awareness of the events of the last couple of years and the reforms that were on the table in the reforms that are now on the table?

Dr Thomas : There was a lot of awareness but people were very confused about what it meant. One of the things that we found was that people knew what was going on but were very confused about what it meant. We are talking, obviously, about precommitment. Quite often we had people using industry phrases. They were saying that a 'licence to punt' was a really good idea. We included that one. But, again, there was a lot of confusion about what this would mean and how much it would restrict them and so on. I guess one of the things that we can take from that is that we need very clear messages about any kind of reform to the community, because at the moment they get lots of conflicting and competing messages from a range of different organisations and stakeholders and that just creates a feeling of confusion for people.

CHAIR: That gap I described between the patrons expecting the venue to help them and the venues expecting the patron to help themselves, did anyone have a view about—do you have a view?—about placing a legal responsibility on venues required in law for them to exercise a duty of care?

Dr Thomas : You asked me this is the last time we met, and I said you then that I am not an expert in this. But I can say that I think certainly the balance at the moment—this is my personal opinion—is that we create a lot more emphasis on the individual taking responsibility than the industry taking responsibility.

CHAIR: That is what we are doing at the moment?

Dr Thomas : Yes. My personal view is that there is a lot more emphasis placed on personal responsibility than social or industry responsibility, and maybe we need to just shift that balance a little bit.

CHAIR: As we discussed previously, the whole use of the term 'problem gambler' suggest that it is the gambler who has the problem and, by implication, it is somehow his or her problem—or fault, I should say.

Dr Thomas : I think that is right, and I think that is why we see such a delay in help seeking. From this study, we certainly saw people say, 'I don't want to admit that I have got a problem,' or 'I should be able to control this myself. I'm trying really hard.' It was interesting to see the extent to which people were putting in little strategies for themselves: 'I only take so much money out of the ATM,' or 'I try and not go for a week.' Interestingly enough, that was more with the moderate-risk gamblers than the problem gamblers.

One story that really struck me was from a young man who said that he puts out two huge bets in the year, on who will win the Brownlow and the Coleman medals, but then, to prove to himself that he does not have a problem, he does not gamble for the rest of the year. We have all these justification strategies in which people are trying to do the right thing. They may say, 'I had a really big loss last week, so I will not gamble for the rest of the month, to prove that I don't have a problem.' So I wonder what we are setting up in terms of what people think a problem looks like and the ease with which people can seek help.

There was one guy who described himself as a professional punter. He said he rang a helpline because he was worried that he was gambling so frequently; they said to him that, because financially he was coming out on top, they could not help him. He himself was worried about the regularity with which he was gambling, but, because he was not having amazing financial losses, he could not seek help or he could not access any services. Maybe that is because our current help services need to be aware of the subtleties of behaviour and that they cannot just assume that all gamblers look like this and they may have a range of different ways of engaging or needing help.

Again, with that moderate-risk group it is very interesting to try and think through how we might intervene or encourage them to think about seeking help. From our study, we found that problem gamblers tended not to seek help until they hit rock bottom, so that, even though they perceived that they were out of control, they did not seek help because of the stigma and the shame, mainly around their families, in admitting—

CHAIR: That is the problem gamblers?

Dr Thomas : That is problem gamblers.

CHAIR: So the 'at risk' were definitely not seeking help?

Dr Thomas : 'At risk' were definitely not seeking help. Problem gamblers were very reluctant to seek help until they hit rock bottom. When we spoke to those ex-problem-gamblers—those gamblers who had had a problem and had sought help—they too said that they did not seek help until they hit rock bottom. In terms of early intervention and in terms of stigma—and we have spoken about this before—when you create a system in which you put so much emphasis on individual responsibility, it is not surprising that it then becomes very difficult for people to seek help because of the stigma associated with this. We have seen that across a range of different conditions—public health and so on.

Also, many problem gamblers find it very difficult to separate out the impacts on them personally and the impacts on their social networks. They find it difficult to separate out. 'This is just about me and what I win and lose.' They clearly recognise that it also impacts on their children and their partners, and much more broadly in their networks, but they still find it difficult to seek help, partly because they desperately want to get that win to recoup what they have lost, and then it will stop, theoretically—and we all know that it is not that easy.

CHAIR: With this group of 100, presumably there were some people you rejected, so is the group indicative of anything?

Dr Thomas : In terms of depth of information, we have very little qualitative research into gambling at the moment. It is very difficult to fund qualitative research, because they are small numbers. For us, this is pretty indicative because of our sampling methods. We reached a really good range of different people. The fact that we did not just seek people who were already in help services has created a really good depth of information around why people do not seek help and also those people who just gamble now and again because it is a bit of fun. This is a good representative sample of gamblers from a range of different areas.

Mr NEUMANN: I was very interested in the response of the different groups. I am interested in you teasing this out. They were very critical of the increase in gambling advertising, and two-thirds wanted stricter regulation and control. How did the different groups respond to that or did all three groups agree to the same thing? If that was not the case, could you please explain to us how the different groups responded to it?

Dr Thomas : It is very rare that you get consistency across a sample but certainly in this sample the increase in gambling advertising, particularly for wagering services, was a key concern right the way across everyone. No matter whether you were a younger woman or an older man, whether you engaged in sports betting or not, there was clear concern about the increase in sports betting and wagering advertising on television. We heard that marketing strategies also clearly influence behaviour, particularly in young men—even though they recognised this was problematic they still engaged in sports betting, in particular.

We talk to people a lot about culture. We hear a lot about this being an Australian thing to do: Australians love a punt; this is normal for us. People think gambling has been normalised in Australia but it is becoming even more so with the advent of gambling advertising. Just because something is normalised does not mean people like it. Quite often we hear of normalisation: it is normalised; everyone does it. That does not mean people are keen to accept that this is the way things should always be. We heard a lot about wartime traditions and two-up. At the moment, two things—concentration of venues and gambling advertising—are really making this, in some communities, almost impossible for people to avoid. That clearly has come through. There was lots of concern, in particular, about gambling advertising and child-friendly hours.

Mr NEUMANN: So even your moderate men—at-risk problem gamblers but not actually problem gamblers—were critical of, say, watching the Broncos play the Cowboys last Friday and seeing Sportsbet come up. Even they, when getting together with colleagues and mates, have a punt. Even they were critical of that, were they?

Dr Thomas : Yes. The reason they were critical of that is they are worried about the impact on kids. That is the clear, driving concern of the community, that they as adults may be able to make an informed choice about engaging with this very adult product, but there is a clear recognition across all sociodemographic groups that this is problematic for young people.

Mr STEPHEN JONES: They express their Australianness or their masculinity by going out and having a punt. Is that something they would do that they would not necessarily otherwise do?

Dr Thomas : Yes, and that was the interesting thing that came out of this study. For young men in this moderate-risk group gambling is now a central activity that is bringing men together. This is the idea of the win, that you punt with your mates and you can get one up. It is not so much the financial win, it is just winning with your mates. The other thing that is really interesting about this is the relationship between alcohol and gambling. Previously, young men would have got together and had a beer. Now they are getting together and having a beer and a bet. One of the things we have been looking at recently is around the State of Origin advertising, where we see a saturation of alcohol and gambling advertising and what that means when we bring those two things together.

It is not just around sports betting, it is around pokie use as well. Again, young men in this sample are saying, 'I hate the pokies, I never go near them unless I've had a few beers and then I'll blow $300 or $400. In the morning I'll think, "Why I did do that?"' There has been very little research around the link between alcohol and gambling and we certainly need a lot more information about that, particularly from young men.

Mr CIOBO: I have been reading over this, and, everywhere that I see the word 'gambling', I am substituting it with the word 'alcohol', which you have just been talking about. Have you ever done anything similar to this on alcohol?

Dr Thomas : No, but many people have. We are really lucky in gambling, in that we have some really interesting models in other public health issues, such as alcohol, to start to think through—particularly with responsible gambling and responsible alcohol use and binge drinking and binge gambling. I think alcohol and gambling are very similar. Sometimes people talk about the similarities between gambling and tobacco use. I do not think that is a good comparison. I actually think gambling and alcohol are pretty good, close matches.

Mr CIOBO: Is your expertise with respect to the process or with respect to the subject, or both?

Dr Thomas : I am not quite clear what your point is.

Mr CIOBO: Is your expertise—and I have not seen a bio, sorry, so I do not know—around gambling and problem gambling or is your expertise around undertaking qualitative studies?

Dr Thomas : Good question. I am an expert in risk behaviours. I do a range of different studies around risky behaviour. We have now run, I think, five different studies on gambling. This is the biggest. We are running another one at the moment in which we are working with 65 families in Victoria to look at how they interact with gambling advertising.

Mr CIOBO: As I said, in my reading of this, substituting in my head the word 'gambling' with the word 'drinking', instinctively all of these statements seem to hold true. Would that be a fair statement?

Dr Thomas : Yes.

Mr CIOBO: Under 'Finding 1', you say:

There were clear differences between the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) scores of the participants in the moderate-risk group and their conceptualisations of the risks associated with their gambling.

I will use the word 'drinking' instead of the word 'gambling' and read out some more of finding 1:

Participants believed that their drinking was not risky because they:

• Had control over their drinking and could stop drinking if they wanted to, despite describing periods when they engaged in “binge” or “risky” patterns of drinking.

• Engaged in responsible patterns of drinking, rarely exceeding their limits.

• Were not “obsessed” by drinking; for example, they did not think about drinking all the time.

• Drank for “fun” or “entertainment” rather than because they felt they needed to.

I read it out that way to illustrate that all those statements hold true to me. Would that be a reasonable assertion about this?

Dr Thomas : If they hold true to you then I cannot say—

Mr CIOBO: But you are the expert in risky behaviours. What I am saying is, when I substitute those words, instinctively it seems to make sense to me. Is that your experience, given you are the expert in risky behaviours?

Dr Thomas : I am not quite sure what your questions is. Are you saying that what we are seeing in gambling is very similar to what we are seeing in alcohol?

Mr CIOBO: Basically, yes, and the conclusions you have drawn.

Dr Thomas : Yes. I think in some parts of this certainly we are seeing similarities with alcohol use. I think we have to be very, very careful that we do not assume that all gambling products are the same. Where we may see some similarities between some forms of gambling and gambling behaviour and some forms of alcohol use and behaviour, that may not hold true—for example, with machines and so on.

Mr CIOBO: But the qualitative conclusions you reach would seem to be in line with qualitative conclusions you could reach off the back of a drinking study.

Dr Thomas : I think so. The risk behaviours are similar across a range of different types of things. Probably the key thing that I take out in terms of similarities between gambling and alcohol—the take-home message—is that behaviour is very complex, and people engage in different types of behaviour for very different reasons. But we know that complex behaviours very much are grounded in sociocultural factors. They are about your experiences, your upbringing, the peer groups you work with, your values, norms and so on.

Mr CIOBO: You did not mention just then in that list the design of the machine or the design of the bottle or the taste of the alcohol. Is that not so much a factor?

Dr Thomas : We were not exploring that in the study. It was outside the scope of the study. We were looking at how people were interacting and how they conceptualise risk. That is certainly something that we will follow up in different studies.

Mr CIOBO: Is risk the driver of the behaviour? Le's break it down, distil it down, into elements—push and pull. Based on your experience and research, is it typically the case that someone engages in risky behaviour because of the push factors—the behavioural influences that you were just talking about? Or is it the case that people are pulled into risky behaviour because of the design of a machine or something? Have you got views on that? Or is a combination of both?

Dr Thomas : I suspect it is a combination of both. One of the things that we found in this study was that risk is actually a motivating factor for engaging in gambling, for some groups. Particularly in that moderate-risk group, risk is actually a motivation. People engage in gambling because it is risky and, as you will have seen in the report, people describe the thrill and the buzz of winning. I know that people have done a number of different studies around product design, incentivisation, inducements. Certainly at the last committee hearing I spoke a lot about the role of inducements, particularly in wagering. There are a range of different factors—marketing factors, sociocultural factors and individual factors.

Mr CIOBO: Is there often a disconnect between the views that participants have and the reality? For example, you spoke about the general view that there was a saturation of alcohol and gambling advertising, yet the incidence of problem gambling has decreased. There would appear to be an apparent disconnect there, or is it simply not a trigger?

Dr Thomas : We have done a number of studies looking at the amount of gambling advertising during sporting matches, and I testified about this to the committee last time. A study that we recently published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, which looked at the amount of gambling advertising during AFL matches, found that on average there was five hours of simultaneous advertising at venues during matches. We have now seen a really good reduction in that because most of the advertising has come off the big screens at the two main stadiums in Victoria. Again, I would just reinforce that behaviour is very complex and we need to start to step away from thinking that there are a one-size-fits-all behaviours; individuals interact with products in very different ways.

Mr CIOBO: Sure. I wholeheartedly agree that it is a very complex thing and there is no silver bullet policy solution to this, but on the issue of the disconnect, you talk about the perception of a saturation of alcohol and gambling advertising, which no doubt reflects the fact that we have lost the monopoly on horse racing when it comes to choice of betting provider; we have lost monopolies in a whole range of different areas when it comes to betting providers. There is the development of derivative gambling products, sports betting, all those kinds of things. There are a variety of mediums. People no longer have to walk into a TAB; they can actually do it online on a smartphone or whatever. So I have no doubt there has been a concurrent increase, yet the incidence of problem gambling has declined. I am just trying to see the value, with a whole bunch of people who have a punt, in saying, 'This is a big problem and it is saturating everything,' when in fact in reality the incidence of problem gambling has declined.

Dr Thomas : I am quite curious about your statement about the incidence of problem gambling declining. I would be quite interested to see the evidence around that, if you have got any to send me, because it is my understanding that the incidence of problem gambling, particularly with some forms of gambling, around sports betting and wagering, is on the increase. I would be really keen to have a look at that evidence and respond once I have had a look at it.

Mr CIOBO: Under 'Finding Two', you comment:

In each of these groups, participants perceived that their gambling was not problematic because they chose to spend their money on gambling rather than other essential items, such as food or other forms of entertainment.

I am keen to explore that, because I do not necessarily see why other forms are essential items but gambling is not essential. I would suggest that other forms of entertainment are not essential in the same way that gambling is not essential. Certainly food is essential. That statement struck me, because I am not really sure why it is a subjective thing. Isn't gambling, for those that are in control and do not have a gambling problem, a form of entertainment they are expending money on?

Dr Thomas : Yes, and I think if you read the actual report, we go into that in a lot more detail. Certainly for problem gamblers there are some who downplay the risks associated with their gambling because they say, 'Well, instead of the spending money on food or groceries or clothing, I choose to spend my money on gambling.' I think that is really interesting in terms of the way in which people do not want to admit that there may be a problem with their consumption practices around gambling.

Mr CIOBO: But why is that? Why is it a problem? Sure, if they are choosing not to eat because they gambling, I can understand that being a problem. But if they are choosing not to engage in other forms of recreation—there are some people that like to go for a run on the weekends; I could not think of anything worse, frankly, but that is just my personal choice. My point is that we all make choices about what we do. It just seems a value laden sort of comment. Why is it a problem?

Dr Thomas : I suspect, and as we heard from problem gamblers, if your consumption practices are clearly affecting your ability to feed your children, then that is problematic.

Mr CIOBO: Absolutely. Sorry, so you are limiting your statement to the extent to where it substitutes—

Dr Thomas : We are just saying what people have told us. In many cases, even though they scored as problem gamblers on the Problem Gambling Severity Index, they justified their gambling as not being problematic because this was a personal choice to use their money in this way rather than using it for other essential items or other forms of entertainment.

Mr CIOBO: Okay. Thanks.

CHAIR: I have one final question. You mentioned that participants thought that the current responsible gambling statements are unclear and ineffective. Could you talk a little about that, please?

Dr Thomas : We also talked to people a lot about public health or social marketing campaigns around gambling. We found within this that they felt that a lot of these campaigns were focused on problem gambling rather than on gambling prevention and were very much targeted towards individuals rather than industry. What we have recommended within the report and the conclusion that we reached is that we actually need to have far more messaging around prevention rather than treatment. It is really important that we get a balance around that, that we are not just constantly looking to pick up the pieces after the problems have developed. Also, I think we have seen from the report how difficult it is to encourage people in to help services or into help-seeking after the fact. People wanted much clearer messages around prevention, particularly around the risks associated with products rather than the risks associated with behaviours.

CHAIR: Thank you. As there are no further questions from the committee, we will finish on time. Again, Dr Thomas, thank you. You have been very generous to this committee with your time and all the assistance you have given us. You have given us a lot to think about in this report. That concludes today's hearing.

Committee adjourned at 13 : 27