Pandemic Takes Australia's Gambling Problem from Slots to Smartphone

Pandemic Takes Australia’s Gambling Problem from Slots to Smartphone

Australia is already the world’s largest gambling nation regarding loss per person. The country has witnessed a shift in betting behaviour since the pandemic-forced strict restrictions on public venues.

Gamblers’ losses on poker machines decreased for the first time during the pandemic, but at a pace far slower than an unusual rise in the money lost on apps, data displayed. That points out that more players are being taken towards an industry that is more challenging to regulate than conventional gambling.

The gambling industry in Australia has been in the spotlight recently, with public questioning lacerating its most prominent casino operators because of setbacks in money laundering security. Online gambling has also been highlighted in investigations, but with its rising familiarity, the state has responded to consumer advocates with an affirmation to examine it in depth. 

App providers are mainly offshore, such as London-listed Flutter Entertainment — the owner of the most famous betting app in Australia, Sportsbet, and Entain, owning the third-ranked app Ladbrokes. Unlike physical casinos, they profit from marketing approaches like promotions on text messages dropping outside the range of gambling advertising conditions.

The loss of gamblers on poker machines was A$11.4 billion in 2021, declining to A$1.1 billion or 17% from 2019, the year before lockdowns began, established the data from Monash University’s School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine.

But gamblers’ loss in online sports betting rose to A$3.2 billion or 80% to A$7.1 billion in the same time, indicated figures provided by industry consultancy H2 Gambling Capital, which avoided including credit often rewarded to users in promotions.

While comparing, gamblers’ total global loss in online sports betting broadened by 58%. Australia surpassed Britain, which has almost three times its population, to sit on the third rank by online loss, after the United States and Japan, informed H2.

After years of deregulation in gambling, governments are mindful about flipping course, given tax revenue and lobbying in the industry, even in the middle of public concern regarding a habit that strips citizens of A$25 billion per year or A$1,000 per person, more than twice that of the United States.

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