Australia’s ongoing struggle to regulate problem gambling within its borders is revealing even more failures in responsible gaming. The impact of gambling addiction on the country is becoming a significant policy issue, especially for the Oceanic commonwealth. Shockingly, around 80 percent of Australians engage in gambling, and the most susceptible group is males aged 18 to 35. Even more concerning is the fact that almost half of all Australian gamblers are at risk of experiencing harm related to gambling.

Australia is taking significant steps to tackle the growing problems associated with online gaming. Following a parliamentary inquiry, 31 recommendations have been made to promote responsible gaming and reduce gambling-related harm. These measures include the introduction of a self-exclusion register called BetStop and a ban on using credit cards for online gambling. While these initiatives are still in their early stages, they have yet to be fully evaluated. Additionally, there are other lingering issues that still need to be addressed.

After new measures were put in place by a parliamentary inquiry, Tabcorp, a gambling operator, has been accused of failing to prevent a 16-year-old from gambling at their venues. This incident highlights the widespread issue of underage gambling and the failure of Tabcorp to properly monitor their facilities and implement effective age verification methods. It is not only the operators who are at fault, but also the advertisers who perpetuate this culture. Darryl Manning, CEO of Wicked Games, a New South Wales operator, spoke exclusively to SiGMA group and emphasized that such oversights would not happen in the currently banned online casinos of Australia.

Why not embrace online slots as a solution to problem gambling? Not only do online platforms offer superior tools for player protection, but they also have the capability to identify a player’s financial means and limit certain behaviors. By expanding the online marketplace, we can introduce a wider range of safer products, effectively curbing problem gambling.

Australia’s states are united in their desire to crack down on gambling advertising. South Australia already has a ban on television gambling ads during certain hours, but many believe it’s not enough. They want a total prohibition on gambling ads across all platforms. The Australian Capital Territory’s attorney general also supports this stance.

In Queensland, the government acknowledges the problem of gambling promotion during family-friendly TV shows. While there are restrictions in place, they believe there is still too much saturation of gambling ads during those hours.

The issue of gambling advertising has caused a divide among states. Some, including New South Wales, want the current system to remain, believing that each state should handle it individually. They argue that this fosters healthy competition and allows for tailored policies based on data from other states.

Operators in Australia generally oppose a complete ban on gambling advertising, but they agree that tighter restrictions and ethical accountability are necessary. Some suggest allocating a portion of ad budgets to raise awareness about the risks of gambling. Speedy disclaimers are not enough; serious attention needs to be given to the issue.

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