A new study has revealed that the number of online gamblers in Australia more than doubled from 2010 to 2019. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A fast-growing industry
A new study has revealed the extent of online gambling growth in Australia over the past decade. According to the research, funded by Gambling Research Australia (GRA), around 18% of surveyed adults gambled online in 2019, up from 8% in 2010.
online lotteries represented the most popular form of internet gambling
Professor Nerilee Hing of the Central Queensland University’s (CQU) Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory provided some more details of the study. She said online lotteries represented the most popular form of internet gambling at 10%, while horse racing and sports betting came next at around 6% each.
Hing noted several reasons for the spike in online gambling, including the introduction of new iGaming options such as multi-bets, esports, fantasy sports, and loot boxes. She also pointed to the improvement of internet speeds, ease of using mobile apps, and growth of advertising and bonuses.
Perhaps surprisingly, the study also found that overall gambling participation fell from 64% in 2010 to 57% in 2019.
Taking a closer look
CQU researchers surveyed more than 15,000 Australian citizens as part of their study into online gaming. Through the research, GRA hoped to establish any changes to interactive gambling since the first national Interactive Gambling Study in 2010.
According to the resulting document, posted on the GRA website, Australia’s online gamblers are mostly young males with a higher-than-average level of education. Typically, they are in de facto relationships and like to gamble through various different activities. The prevalence of online gambling was highest in the Australian Capital Territory at around 20%, followed by Western Australia at 18%.
16% used an offshore site for casino games
The study also looked into the continued issue of illegal offshore gambling. Around 26% of interactive gamblers used an illegal site to purchase instant scratch tickets in 2019, while 16% used an offshore site for casino games. Awareness of the illegality of offshore sites was low, with nearly half of those surveyed never checking if a website had a license.
Added to this, the CQU research represented the first national study to investigate the negative consequences of gambling. It found that 9% of Australians experienced some level of harm from their own gambling, while 6% suffered harm from another person’s. Online gamblers were twice as likely to experience harm than land-based customers.
Australia’s National Framework
This research comes as Australia’s local governments work to implement the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering. Through the rules set out on the Australian government website, officials hope to establish minimum protections for online gamblers to minimize the risk of gambling-related harm.
restrictions on the use of payday lenders for gambling purposes
The National Framework will introduce ten measures to protect customers across all Australian jurisdictions. Among others, this will include mandatory customer verification to ensure vulnerable people can not access online gambling, limits on the inducements operators can offer, and restrictions on the use of payday lenders for gambling purposes.
The Commonwealth, state, and territory governments began gradually implementing the National Framework in November 2018. Throughout the process, officials plan to monitor the measures to build on and refine them in line with the latest evidence.