Friday, February 23, 2024

Online gambling industry regulation back in focus as inquiry’s hearings resume

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Thanks to online gambling, John is someone who knows how it feels to lose everything. 

When he still worked and earned good money as a credit manager, losses and gains from gambling were casual and shared with friends at the TAB over lunch. 

However, after being suddenly laid off from his job, and grappling with the toll it took on his mental health, John made an account with an online betting company he had seen advertised again and again during sports games.

Within a month, he lost his entire $170,000 redundancy packet. Six years on, the knock-on effects lost him his marriage and family home. 

Since last year, a federal government inquiry into online gambling has been calling on advocacy groups, people affected by it and gambling companies to put forward their thoughts on how the industry is regulated.

One of the regulations being assessed is whether interventions for problem gamblers are being done responsibly. 

Public hearings will resume in Canberra today with a mix of politicians, researchers and advertisers to be called.

Closer eye on betting companies

Australians are some of the biggest gamblers — and losers — in the world, at one point holding the world record for biggest gambling nation.

Over the years the gambling industry has faced tougher rules, like tighter restrictions on gambling ads to limit underage viewers, but the emergence and popularity of online gambling has changed the playing field yet again.

According to a report by Central Queensland University, the rate of problem gambling among online gamblers — those who use apps and the internet to place bets — is three times that of those who play the pokies.

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