August 17, 2023 2 min read


University of Sydney Criticized over Investments from the Gambling Industry

Critics said that if the research seeks to understand gambling harm, then it needs to be “completely at arm’s length from the industry”

The gambling industry’s backing of the University of Sydney’s new Centre of Excellence in Gambling Research doesn’t sit well with industry critics, who believe that the tie-up is a recipe for a conflict of interests.

The university recently unveiled its new multi-disciplinary center, which is tasked with advancing research on gambling behavior and minimizing harm. However, it became known that the University of Sydney will receive over AUD 800,000 (around $511,700) from gambling-related parties.

While some believe that the investment demonstrates the industry’s commitment to minimizing its negative impact and supporting safer gambling initiatives, others fear that it might cause a potential conflict of interest.

The Centre of Excellence in Gambling Research will be primarily supported by the International Centre for Responsible Gaming (ICRG), which will contribute AUD 600,000 to the cause. However, the ICRG is itself financially supported by gambling companies.

In addition, the University of Sydney’s new center is set to receive backing from Entain Australia, Sportsbet and the Australian Research Council’s Life Course Centre, which will provide it with AUD 180,000, 50,000 and 100,000, respectively.

The Research Needs to Stay Away from the Industry, Critics Say

Since the Centre of Excellence in Gambling Research will receive backing from the gambling industry, some fear that its work will not be fully independent. While the University of Sydney reassured interested parties that this is not the case, experts still fear that an industry-funded organization might be biased.

A Deakin University gambling expert, Samantha Thomas, expressed her thoughts on the matter. She noted that the gambling industry contributes to the problem at hand and therefore should not have a role in the research of gambling harm or development of regulatory policies.

Thomas argued that if the research seeks to understand gambling harm, then it needs to be “completely at arm’s length from the industry.”

However, the University of Sydney trusts that the ethics committee of its new center will be able to mitigate potential conflicts of interest. A spokesperson noted that the funding bodies will not have a say in the center’s decisions and research. In addition, the partnership with operators will provide the center with valuable data, the spokesperson added.

The Centre of Excellence in Gambling Research’s lead researcher, Sally Gainsbury is much more optimistic about the center than Thomas, calling it an “unprecedented collaboration” that will overcome previous limitations.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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