Australia has seen a sharp rise in online gambling in the last few years. According to a study funded by Gambling Research Australia, the number of people who wager online, either enthusiasts or casual bettors, has doubled up between 2010 and 2019.
Online Gamblers’ Numbers Double Up
The study results are based on over 15,000 questioned Australian citizens, making it Australia’s first study on the effects of gambling on a national scale. According to its data, back in 2010, only 8.1% of Australian adults engaged in betting. In comparison, in 2019 about 17.5% engaged in some form of online wagering.
Nerilee Hing, a professor working at CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory spoke about those results. She pointed out that the rise in online gambling cases coincides with technological breakthroughs. People now carry pocket devices that support a high-speed internet connection, making it increasingly easy to bet online. Moreover, internet users are constantly being bombarded by virtual advertisements, increasing their likelihood of developing an interest in betting.
Professor Hing added that the various developments in online gambling have made it much more interesting and appealing, especially to younger audiences. Stuff like esports betting, loot boxes and fantasy sports are especially attractive to young adults. Speaking about this, the study results reveal that the profile of the average gambler is an educated young man, confirming Professor Hing’s words.
Professor Hing proceeded to detail the most popular forms of online wagering. At the top are the lotteries, played by about 10% of all Australian adults. They are followed by a tie between horserace betting and sports betting with about 6% each.
The Need to Mitigate Gambling Harm Remains
According to the research, about 9.1% of the whole adult populace has experienced at least some gambling-related harm and about 6% have been harmed by a close person’s betting habits. Out of that number, there were twice as many people harmed by online wagering that people harmed by retail betting.
Despite the rise of online gambling, overall gambling participation has actually gone down by almost 10% (from 64.3% to 56.9% between 2010 and 2019).
Yet, because of the unlikeable harm rates, the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, which are behind the Gambling Research Australia initiative, will work to introduce the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering. The said framework will ensure that different regions in Australia all work in accordance with the best practices and have their customers’ wellbeing in mind. It consists of a total of 10 consumer protection measures that will mitigate damage caused by gambling.