27th March 2023 – (Canberra) A recent report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has revealed that almost 40% of Australian adults gamble every week. The AIFS, which is an agency within the Department of Social Service, surveyed 1,765 people on gambling participation and community harm. The report discovered that three-quarters of adults gambled at least once in the last 12 months, with 38% participating on a weekly basis.
Shockingly, almost half of those who gambled in the last year were at risk of harm from wagering. Furthermore, a third of participants admitted that they increased their betting after being exposed to gambling advertising. Young adults aged 18-34 were the most susceptible to the influence of advertising. The survey also found that more than half of the population supports a blanket ban on wagering advertising across all platforms.
Rebecca Jenkinson, Executive Manager of the Australian Gambling Research Centre, warned of the dangers of gambling advertising in a media release. She said that exposure to wagering advertising leads to riskier betting behaviour and increases the likelihood of experiencing gambling harms. The AIFS report demonstrates the harm that exposure to gambling advertising can cause at an individual, family, and societal level.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that Australians lost approximately AUD 25 billion (US$16.6 billion) on gambling in the financial year 2018-19, representing the largest per capita loss in the world. The high rate of participation in gambling has prompted concern among lawmakers and regulators.
In related news, top sports leagues in Australia are facing scrutiny over their gambling sponsorship deals. There are growing calls for an end to these sponsorships, with critics arguing that they promote harmful gambling behaviour. The release of the AIFS report has added to the pressure on these leagues to reconsider their sponsorship arrangements.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth commented on the findings of the AIFS report, saying that they would inform the government’s response going forward. It remains to be seen what action the government will take, but the AIFS report has undoubtedly put the issue of gambling under the spotlight.