Australia: study finds online gambling doubled in past decade

Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world.
Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world.

A study has found that the number of online gamblers in Australia has doubled since 2010.

Australia.- Gambling Research Australia has published its Second National Study of Interactive Gambling in Australia, reporting that the number of online gamblers has doubled in the past decade. More than 15,000 Australians were surveyed and 17.5 per cent of adults gambled online in 2019, up from 8.1 per cent in 2010.

Professor Nerilee Hing, from CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, said: “This growth in online gambling has been driven by faster internet speeds, the convenience of betting on smartphone apps and extensive advertising and inducements.”

According to the study, 10.1 per cent of adults chose the lottery as their preferred form of online gambling. The second most popular choice was race betting at 5.9 per cent, followed by sports betting at 5.8 per cent.

Authorities are currently looking at a National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering in order to bring Australian consumer protection measures up to date. It comprises 10 consumer protection measures intended to reduce gambling harm. 

A study carried out to analyse the negative effect of gambling on families and friends showed that more than 9 per cent of Australian adults have encountered some degree of harm from their own gambling and 6 per cent from someone else’s. It found that online gamblers are twice as likely to suffer harm as land-based gamblers.

Study finds Australians don’t use gambling harm reduction tools

A study by the University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic (GTRC) has reported that gambling harm minimisation tools implemented by the government have had little impact.

The research focused on self-exclusion and deposit limit tools. It found that the first tool affected online gambling behaviour but that players don’t use the tool if it’s voluntary.

As for deposit limits, 6,000 people who used the tool stuck to the limits for about a year, while one in four decided to change their betting limits to make them less restrictive. One in eight gamblers unsubscribed from the programme. 

Despite this, Sally Gainsbury, one of the study’s authors, said the self-exclusion and betting limit tools had proved to be successful.

She said the number of people who set a deposit limit for gambling increased after the introduction of the self-exclusion system. She added that the results could encourage authorities to take other measures to promote safer gambling behaviour.

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