Promoting online gambling is a losing bet

Promoting online gambling is a losing bet

Media Release

As eastern Australia gears up for NRL State of Origin 2, the online gambling companies are again preparing to advertise a myriad of betting options on the game.  

 ‘St Vincent de Paul Society is deeply concerned about the ease of online betting and the impacts of problem gambling on households struggling to afford essentials, including food and power bills,’ said the Society’s National President, Mark Gaetani. 

 ‘There’s nothing as enjoyable as a top-class game of footy, whatever code you follow, but the ease of betting online during a sporting contest is causing tremendous harm. New research by the Alliance for Gambling Reform shows the number of Australians betting on sport has doubled in five years, with problem gamblers placing some 34 per cent of the total value of bets. A further 17 per cent were found to be at moderate risk. 

 ‘Australia is the world’s number one gambling nation and the biggest losers. Studies show 44 per cent of all Australian adults report gambling on sports and/or racing, with most placing their bets using a smart phone or computer. 

 ‘We’re asking footy fans to leave their phones and money in their pockets. The money lost on gambling could be far better spent by donating to a good cause such as St Vincent de Paul Society. 

 ‘Our members and volunteers see many people suffering from domestic and family violence and the other harms caused by gambling losses. Everyone’s a winner if you help a charity working in this space - and of course you can use your phone to make a donation. That way your device is not a casino in your pocket but something to make a positive change in the life of those doing it tough.’ 

Mr Gaetani added, ‘There is a real risk of becoming addicted to gambling’s dopamine ‘high’, which makes it very hard to stop, regardless of the impacts on the individual, their family life, work and finances. There are currently few safeguards to protect people with gambling disorder from online gambling harm.’  

He said the Society supports an end to the widespread advertising of online gambling, which conflates betting and sports events, exposes audiences of all ages to gambling culture, and pulls in individuals who are at risk of, or who are already, experiencing gambling harm.  

‘I’m sure a good many of our political leaders will be watching the Blues v Maroons, and I hope they will be as concerned by gambling promotion as we are. It might even prompt them to support the Australian Parliament’s report You win some, you lose more - Online gambling and its impacts on those experiencing gambling harm, which said online gambling is ‘wreaking havoc in our communities’.   

‘This detailed report is currently sitting on the shelf, awaiting action. A major focus was the issue of gambling advertisements and inducements during sporting events.  

‘Online gambling comes to a peak during events such as grand finals or State of Origin, which sadly is known to coincide with a spike in domestic and family violence. This is further fuelled by increased consumption of alcohol, including fast home deliveries. Those running our shelters and other support services know all too well the significant risks faced by many women.’ 

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