Gambling Problems

Cover - Gambling Problems
  • Gambling Problems
  • Volume 332
  • Editor: Justin Healey
  • Print book ISBN: 978 1 921507 57 1
  • E-book ISBN: 978 1 921507 58 8
  • Year: 2011
  • E-book: $24.00

Australia is a nation of keen punters – according to recent findings about 70 per cent of Australians participated in some form of gambling in the past year. Gambling takes many forms, including lotteries and ‘scratchies’, electronic gaming machines (‘pokies’), casino-based table games, sports wagering and online gaming. Latest estimates claim about 115,000 Australians are classified as ‘problem gamblers’ with a further 280,000 people being at ‘moderate risk’. Gambling can seriously affect many aspects of an individual’s life; it can also affect family members, friends and carers. This title looks at the latest government initiatives to address the negative social and economic impacts of problem gambling, including the regulation of growing access to online gambling. The book also provides detailed advice on dealing with personal gambling issues, including how to identify the warning signs, and where to get help. Can you beat the odds, before they beat you?

Chapter 1: Gambling regulation in Australia

Chapter 2: Dealing with problem gambling

Worksheets and activities; Glossary; Fast facts; Web links; Index

Fast facts:

  • Around 70% of Australians participated in some form of gambling in the past year.
  • Annual gaming machine losses per player average about $3,700 in New South Wales, $3,100 in Victoria and $1,800 in Queensland.
  • Regular gaming machine players (those that play at least once a week) are estimated to spend on average about $7,000 to $8,000 per annum.
  • Casinos derive 78% of their revenue from gambling, clubs gain 61% of their revenue and hotels 28%.
  • The gambling sector is an important industry with gam-bling expenditure exceeding $19 billion and the industry estimated to support the employment of more than 145,000 people.
  • The first official horse race was held in 1810. By the mid-1800s betting on horse racing was a popular recreational activity with turf clubs established in many areas of Australia.
  • The 1930s and 40s saw minor gaming activities such as bingo, raffles and art unions became popular and legitimate.
  • In 1956, the New South Wales Government passed the Gaming and Betting (Poker Machines) Act, which gave the exclusive right to operate poker machines to registered clubs.
  • Race meetings and lotteries were restricted during 1942-45 due to the Second World War.
  • Fingerprint and other invasive identification technology has been ruled out of a national system to curb problem gambling.
  • Each poker machine has a computer program. Pokies are programmed so that in the end the machine will win.
  • Although problem gamblers make up around 15% of regular pokies players, they account for 40% of poker machine spending.
  • Studies have shown that problem gamblers spend $21,000 a year on gambling on average each.
  • Many venues, such as clubs, already require players to be members or sign in at the venue before they can play poker machines.
  • In a full pre-commitment scheme, players will be asked to set a limit on how much money (and possibly time) they want to spend on the pokies in a set period.
  • Over the past 5 years, States and Territories have spent more than $200 million on responsible gambling and harm minimisation.
  • All States and Territories prohibit gambling operators from offering credit to a patron for the purposes of gambling.
  • Minors are not permitted in gaming areas across Australia. Penalties are in place for the individual, venue operator and staff.
  • 20% of people who are gambling online are in the category of problem gambler.
  • Many of the foreign gaming websites Australians can access are located in Gibraltar, Malta, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man – places where online gambling is legal.
  • In Australia the primary forms of interactive gambling are legal forms of interactive wagering on sporting events and racing.
  • Research suggests that participation in internet gambling (gaming and wagering) in Australia is very low.
  • Gambling adversely affects up to 500,000 Australians each year.
  • Gambling is a pastime that has been recorded throughout human history.
  • Gambling businesses across Australia deliver a range of benefits to the economy, such as the provision of a desired product for consumers, investment, technological develop-ment, employment, and spin-off benefits for associated industries such as tourism and accommodation.
  • Gambling is an ancient practice and for much of its history has been largely unregulated.
  • There are between 80,000 and 160,000 Australian adults suffering severe problems from their gambling.
  • Approximately 1.12% of the Victorian adult population has serious problems with their gambling.
  • A compulsive gambler is described as a person whose gambling has caused growing and continuing problems in any department of his or her life.
  • A problem gambler may come to believe that they are capable of extraordinary feats (e.g. believing that they have secret knowledge to influence a win).
  • In the past 15 years, regulatory reforms have seen poker machines experience spectacular growth, expanding from their traditional domain within registered clubs to become a fixture in most hotels.
  • The ‘official’ gambling sector generates around $18 billion per year.
  • With a national average of one machine per 110 persons, Australia is almost on par with gambling meccas such as Antigua and Macau.
  • Gambling venues and activities are highly accessible throughout Australia and 70-80% of Australians gamble at least once a year.
  • A recent study has found that people with a gambling problem were twice as likely to be depressed and 18 times more likely to experience severe psychological distress than people without a gambling problem.
  • The ACT’s nett gaming machine revenue is in the order of $175 million.
  • Around 40% of Australians gamble regularly and 2.1% of the adult population is estimated to have a significant gambling problem.
  • Problem gambling is commonly thought of as an addiction not unlike other addictions such as alcoholism and drug addiction.
  • The development of problem gambling has been described by experts in these three phases; winning phase, losing phase, and the desperation phase.