Howard Sercombe

Document Type



Edith Cowan University


School of Community and Language Studies / Centre for the Development of Human Resources


Sercombe, H. (1991). Amusement centres and social risk : a survey into the social risks that amusement centres pose for young people who use them. Perth, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


This report summarises the indings of a survey amongst respondents connected with the amusement and leisure centre industry in the inner city area of Perth in April 1988.

The survey canvassed perception of the social composition of users of the amusement centres and the pattern of centre usage. It asked questions concerning a number of areas of social concern that are sometimes raised in connection with centres, and canvassed opinion regarding the need for regulation or licensing of centres.

Briefly, the survey found that:

There is no evidence to suggest that amusement centres are in any way connected with drug dealing or usage, nor prostitution or sexual exploitation of young people. On the contrary, such activities are less likely there than at many other venues.

Disorderly conduct of various kinds is rare within centres but is associated with groupings of young people outside some centres with reasonable frequency. This is usually of the order of a fight or of loud abusive language. The cause of this cannot be sheeted home to amusement centres with any surety without significant further research.

Amusement centres satisfy various social and psychological needs of young people which would need to be catered for in other ways if access to these centres were restricted.

There appears to be little call for licensing of centres. Centres within the inner city area appear to be sufficiently rigorous in their own application of adequate standards of behaviour and it does not appear that formal regulation would achieve much further benefit.

Generally, while it is appropriate that the State government maintain a watching brief on centres, little in the way of social policy imperatives seem necessary for inner city centres at this stage.