02 June, 2023
Two in five Australians gamble every week: Report


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Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has stopped short of calling on NSW premier-elect Chris Minns to back cashless pokie cards across his state, as shocking new data reveals the extent of gambling harm.

Mr Minns pledged to rollout a cashless gaming trial on hundreds of machines in a bid to counter former premier Dominic Perrottet’s gambling reforms.

Ms Rowland said the NSW Labor leader went to the election with a clear policy.

“People made their decision there. This is an area that is regulated under state law and I expect that he will hold true to his election commitments,” she told the ABC.

“I also expect that, as premier, he will be open and consultative about that process, that he’s also very committed to harm minimisation and that he will ensure that what the community expects in terms of delivering on his commitments, he fulfils.”

When asked how voters could trust her ability to regulate the industry after accepting a $19,000 donation from online gambling company Sportsbet, Ms Rowland said she was taking action now.

“It’s very clear that we understand the community expects action in this area … and I’m getting on with the job,” she said.

Ms Rowland has previously vowed she would not take any more money from gambling companies now that she is minister.

The Australian Gambling Research Centre found lotteries and scratchies were the most common products used (64 per cent), followed by racing (38 per cent), sports betting (34 per cent) and pokies (33 per cent).

Almost half of those who gambled were classified as being at some risk of gambling harm, including mental health issues and unmanageable debt.

When it comes to gambling ads, three quarters of Australian adults reported seeing or hearing sports or race betting advertisements at least once a week in the past 12 months.

Two in five were exposed to those ads four or more times a week.

Twenty-one per cent of people were prompted to start betting for the first time after seeing an ad, while 34 per cent increased the amount they spent.

“Exposure to wagering advertising is leading to riskier betting behaviour and escalating the likelihood of experiencing gambling harms,” the research centre’s executive manager Rebecca Jenkinson said.

“The report also captures the concerns of the Australian public that wagering advertising normalises gambling activity.”

Seventy-seven per cent of Australians believe there are too many opportunities to gamble, while 59 per cent say it should be discouraged.

The federal government has said it is committed to reducing gambling harm.

From this week, consistent messaging will be used across the country while wagering service staff will be required to complete new training around gambling harm.

In the coming months, the federal government will also implement the first national self-exclusion register called BetStop.


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