Posts Tagged ‘sports betting agencies’

It’s Spring carnival again and the betting agencies are lining up and throwing offers at punters left, right and centre.  It all sounds great with free betting and getting paid the win for finishing second and bonus bets and best tote odds etc.  Even with all that, most punters will lose money on the horses this Spring, and in worst case scenarios for punters, they will be on the path to gambling addiction – which is the best case scenario for the betting agencies.  This article has some tales of woe, plus the facts about Australia’s gambling habits.

‘Three months, half a million bucks’: Paying the price for a punt

Nick Toscano

27th October 2018

In the front seat of his parked car, a middle-aged man sits dressed in his running clothes; collar unzipped, sunglasses above his forehead. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon and the middle of a drought in this part of Australia, so the air outside is warm and sunlight beams in through the rear windscreen glass.

Shuffling in his seat, Peter* begins explaining why he has to have this conversation here in his car instead of at home. For a moment, he can’t help but laugh. But the situation is far from funny, and his laughter trails off.

In the space of three months, Peter says he’s lost half a million dollars by gambling online. Every night, with multiple betting accounts on his smartphone, he’d been laying down huge sums on horse races – races in Australia, or Hong Kong, or wherever there was a race on. When there were no horse races left, he would bet on the greyhounds. If there were chickens running around, he’d probably have bet on them too. Having lost all control, he swiftly lost everything. And still, to this day, no one in his family knows about it.

“It was an absolute frenzy – bet, bet, bet, late into the night, early into the morning,” he recalls. “Three months, half a million bucks … it’s all gone now.”

Spring in their step

Springtime has arrived in Australia, and the spring racing season is in full swing. For the nation’s betting industry, this is the busiest period on the calendar. At pub terminals, at race tracks, on computers, tablets and mobile apps, hundreds of thousands of people will place a wager, just like they do every year. Over eight major race days, Australia’s biggest gambling company, ASX-listed Tabcorp, expects punters to turn over more than $1 billion.

The overwhelming majority of bets will be placed by ordinary people, betting moderately, betting for a bit of fun. The average amount is less than $20. For others, however, their betting is not so innocuous. According to recent research, an estimated 200,000 Australians are considered “problem gamblers”, that is, people who continue to gamble despite the dire impact it may be having on their lives.

Although Australians lose far less money betting on sport ($1.06 billion a year) and racing ($3.3 billion) than they do on pokies or casino games ($17 billion combined), the smartphone era has propelled online wagering into the fastest-growing form of gambling nationally – rocketing more than 15 per cent a year – a statistic that has some policymakers worried. The 24/7 availability of online gambling and the idea that digital transactions can seem “less real” have given rise to very real concerns that the danger of developing problematic gambling habits may be greater online.

“The majority of gambling in Australia happens in relatively controlled social environments like clubs, pubs, casinos and race tracks,” said Scott Morrison in 2015, when he was social services minister. “Online or interactive gambling creates vulnerabilities because it doesn’t share such limited controls and protections.”

Leading into Melbourne Cup week, with online bookmakers in fierce competition for market share, it is with these worries in mind that the rope is about to get tighter around the global online gambling giants here and the services they provide.

After three years and a series of delays, state and federal politicians are finalising a suite of new standards for the industry, aimed at tackling problem gambling risks online and beefing up protections for consumers.

Sportsbet, BetEasy, Ladbrokes, Bet365, Betfair and Unibet dispute the notion that problem gambling risks are greater online, arguing their technology provides punters tools to limit spending in a way that physical betting terminals cannot.

But they have been widely accepting of a series of concessions and, through their industry group Responsible Wagering Australia, have proactively helped government develop many of the incoming online gambling reforms, chief among them being a “national self-exclusion scheme” for people trying to quit gambling.

The first of its kind in Australia, the scheme will allow gamblers to ban themselves across state lines and across all betting sites at once on smartphones, computers and tablets. Also among the soon-to-be-introduced measures are a voluntary, opt-out pre-commitment system for punters to set their own limits, and a nationwide ban on bookies offering “inducements” to encourage people to open accounts.

Other figures on the frontline of the issue – such as problem gamblers themselves and the financial counsellors who assist them – are supportive of the new rules but argue the package doesn’t go far enough, fearing it falls short of what is truly needed to protect the vulnerable. One of the biggest omissions, they say, is that there is lack of enforceable requirements like in the United Kingdom for companies to take steps such as making checks on big-spending customers, monitoring their deposits and making sure they are safe.

“There is no clear duty on the company to take concrete steps to ensure their services are provided responsibly,” says Lauren Levin, the policy director of Financial Counselling Australia. “We are about five years behind the UK.”

‘It was just manic’

Just before his gambling spiralled out of control, Peter was in his 50s, recently divorced and had received a large payout following an accident. “I probably want to dodge a few points here,” he says, so as to not reveal his identity. “But when I got my payout, I was bored and lonely and started punting.”

Drinking heavily and taking powerful pain medication, he opened accounts with multiple online bookmakers including two of the biggest, Ladbrokes and CrownBet. His bets ranged from $10 or $20 to many thousands. In several instances, he wagered as much as $20,000 per race. Most nights, his account records show, he was turning over massive amounts of money, like clockwork, every couple of minutes.

“It was just manic,” he says. “I actually don’t remember most of it.”

After Peter began posting serious losses, some of the bookmakers’ software identified his erratic gambling patterns and cut him off. Others, however, did not, instead making him a “VIP customer” – rewarding his big spending with free bets and offers of tickets to sporting events.

“They were relentless, they’d do anything to keep you going … to see the money keep flowing in,” he says. “The only VIP I was to them was a ‘very important profit centre’.”

Every morning, he rolled out of his bed and reached for his mobile in fear, unable to remember what happened the night before. One morning, he saw $75,000 sitting in one of his betting accounts, down from $150,000. Although Peter has now stopped gambling, and self-excluded from the sites he once used, there is a familiar feeling of dread that still greets him daily.

“I literally wake up with heart palpitations every morning,” he says.

The most important change he believes is necessary in the current political push to stem gambling harm is a providing a pre-commitment scheme that is truly binding, not just for online wagering, but for all kinds of gambling. “Very few people can afford to lose $50,000 to $100,000 a day,” he says.

The new house where Jack* lives is nothing like his old one. Small and drab, it’s sparsely furnished and situated on a busy main road, the blare of traffic audible from inside. He appears from his kitchen holding a cup of tea and a tray of biscuits and apologises for the lack of space. A large window looks out to his driveway, where there is a disused car sitting idle that he can’t afford to repair. It’s cold inside. Jack is wearing a woolen jumper and loose blue jeans. His hair is white and cropped, his eyebrows thick and dark. He is aged is in his early 50s, but looks older. A lot has changed in the past 12 months.

“I’m not the same person I was, that’s for sure,” says Jack. “If I had lived here in this house three years ago, I’d have been terribly embarrassed.”

Jack was never a stranger to the punt. He would regularly stop at the TAB on the drive home from work, to put down $20 on whatever horse race was on.

When he lost his job of 21 years, and found himself with a large redundancy payout and hours to spare, things took a turn. His depression and anxiety worsened. Online gambling filled a void.

“When I sit here now with you, to me it just sounds totally insane,” he says. “I can’t even begin to think what sort of frame of mind I was in when I was sitting there with antidepressants, sleeping tablets, you know, a couple of cans of beer and $170,000 sitting in an account that I could just keep pumping into an online bookmaker in blocks of $10,000 and $20,000 at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, on races on the other side of the planet somewhere.”

Bottom of a pit

Over seven days, betting records show, Jack lost $125,000. Much like Peter’s experience, each day began in the grip of anxiety. “What the hell did I do last night?” he would ask himself. “That was the start of your day … waking up feeling like you’re at the bottom of a pit.”

Jack hates thinking about what he’s done, and all the money he’s lost – the money he should have been using to re-establish himself post-redundancy.

Although he unsuccessfully took his case to the regulator in the Northern Territory, the jurisdiction where most online bookmakers hold their licences, Jack blames himself mostly. It was, after all, his decision to gamble. “I got online and gambled it away,” he says, “but I think these bigger companies, too, have got some blame. They, and the government, should have some sort of safeguards to stop people like me from gambling erratically.”

Two months ago, when Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, he overhauled the front bench. His appointment to the social services ministry – the role overseeing the new online wagering protections, the National Consumer Protection Framework – was Paul Fletcher, a former senior executive at Optus. Fletcher is the third minister to hold the portfolio in the past 12 months, prompting concerns that the momentum behind the online gambling legislation may be waning. But, speaking publicly on the topic for the first time as minister, Fletcher has moved to assure stakeholders that the package is in the “final stages” of agreements by all governments, and anticipates it it will be “announced shortly”.

‘Self-exclusion’ push

“The framework’s 10 measures will deliver strong, nationally consistent minimum protections for Australian using interactive wagering services,” he says. “All governments have worked extensively with industry, community sector organisations, academia and individuals who have experienced gambling harm to design the framework’s measures to ensure that the online gambling standards are raised nationally.”

Gambling-reform campaigners are urging the government to prioritise the framework before the federal election, particularly the national self-exclusion scheme, which they say is a “no-brainer”.

But some are already making the case for tougher reforms such as a national regulator as opposed to Australia’s patchwork state-based regulators, stricter rules around “bonus bet” offers, and greater onus on bookies to identify and act on potentially harmful betting behaviour. In the UK, they say, companies are legally required to gain a holistic picture of the source of wagering funds and critically assess a customer’s financial capacity, or face fines running into millions of pounds.

“The Brits are leaving us for dead on consumer protection for gamblers, with a decent national regulator, a raft of recent reform and more than $30 million worth of fines over the past two years,” says Susan Rennie, of the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

Financial Counselling Australia agrees, saying the global bookmakers are forced to comply with far tougher rules in the UK than in their Australian businesses.

“Gambling companies already have software to identify changes in gambling patterns,” says Levin. “The problem is that the problem gambler is also their cash cow, so there is a reluctance to do what they should do – intervene.”

The major online bookmakers reject this claim, stressing that they “don’t want to take a cent” from problem gamblers. Aside from social responsibility obligations, industry insiders insist it is not in their commercial interests for someone to lose heavily in a short period then never bet with them again. They would rather customers bet moderately, within their means and on an ongoing basis. As one insider puts it: “Smaller bets lead to more stable outcomes and more predictable margins.”

At the height of a public and political backlash in 2016, online wagering companies formed the lobby group Responsible Wagering Australia to lift standards in the industry and restore its social licence.

The group’s director, former Labor senator Stephen Conroy, says its members have been among the leading advocates for the new consumer-protection reforms.

“Ultimately, millions of Australians enjoy having a punt and do so responsibly,” says Conroy. “What is important is to ensure there are effective tools available to assist people to continue wagering in a responsible way as well as effective permanent self-exclusion for those that have serious gambling problems.”

Tabcorp, which runs retail and online wagering services, has also supported the incoming framework, and says it has “long argued for a consistent approach” to gambling regulation. “We believe these changes will bring about a more balanced and responsible way in which betting is promoted and offered,” a spokesman said.

A few years ago, Gary* sustained an injury. A bad one. He was put under the knife in eight separate surgeries. It was quickly decided he wouldn’t return to his job full-time, but would eventually return part-time. “I haven’t worked a day since,” he says. “I haven’t been able to go back.”

As a younger man, Gary worked at a racecourse, and even had his wedding there. He had long been surrounded by horse racing and gambling. “But it had certainly never taken the toll or taken me to the places that I went to two years ago,” he says.

“When I was home after those surgeries and it became available on my phone, it was almost like Christmas had come … there were so many options, so many betting agencies.”

With two of his betting accounts, he decided to set limits on how much he could deposit, to make sure he “didn’t go overboard”. But with the third– Tabcorp’s now-defunct Luxbet – he had no limit in place. Instead, he requested a $1000 overdraft facility.

“There were some periods there where I was on some very serious medication, and I’d go 24 hours straight, I wouldn’t stop, the money would just keep going in – deposit, deposit deposit,” he recalls. Over several months, he lost about $130,000 “There was never any action, any intervention, to stop me.

“I’m not blaming anybody, I know that was my responsibility,” he says, “but it’s the way they allowed me to do it without any oversight in anyway.”

The Morrison government says the reforms will be “progressively” rolled out within 18 months. It will be too late for this Melbourne Cup, but some hope the national self-exclusion register, could be in force in time for next year’s.

“In spring racing season 2019, Australians will be expecting to see the sails of the Sydney Opera House emblazoned with graphics promoting the new online gambling self-exclusion register,” says Levin. “Now who do we call for publicity and endorsement? The PM, Alan Jones, or both?

* Names have been changed

https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/three-months-half-a-million-bucks-paying-the-price-for-a-punt-20181026-p50c5u.html

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Australia has the highest rates of problem gambling in world, and the normalising of it through advertising and imbedded dialogue during live sport is going to affect generations to come.  Is it possible anymore to watch a game of AFL without a refence to the odds and the sportsbet favourite, from the commentators to the ads to the cuts to Sportsbet?

 

Online, interactive sports gambling addiction takes heavy toll on young men, says Tim Costello

While poker machines have been a perennial concern for problem gambling among older Australians, there is a slick and deceptive juggernaut quickly taking hold of young men — sports gambling.

According to Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesperson Tim Costello, the nature of watching live sport as a young man in Australia has changed dramatically.

Men are no longer taking an interest in just whether their team wins, they are financially invested in games they might have never watched because they have a wager on the outcome.

“Sports betting is the fastest growing level of addiction,” Mr Costello said.

“Pokies target middle-aged women who are invited to go to a club, dress up and someone opens the door for you and you sit there and devastate your life.

“Sports betting targets young men and that’s a rapidly growing area of addiction.”

Mr Costello’s thoughts have been echoed by an Australian Gambling Research Centre report into interactive gambling, which states that sports and race wagering are the dominant forms of interactive gambling in Australia, and interactive gamblers are more likely to be young men.

It is one of the key issues that will be discussed today at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus for The Spectrum of Gambling Harms Seminar.

Governments to blame for sports betting rise: Costello

Mr Costello said Australia had the highest rates of problem gambling in world, as well as being home to 20 per cent of the world’s poker machines.

He rejected the concept that betting was part of the Australian character, and has levelled the blame for the prevalence of gambling in Australia at state governments.

“The immoral failure of state governments to protect the vulnerable and instead allow more pokies is one of the big reasons [for problem gambling in Australia],” he said.

“Incessant sports betting and the lax rules that allow kids to be targeted with what are gambling products when the footy and cricket are on — that’s another one of the reasons.”

But Clubs NSW spokesperson Anthony Ball said the majority of people who played poker machines did it safely and within their budget.

”There’s a small fraction of the population that doesn’t and we’ve been committed to looking for ways to help people who do have a problem to help themselves,” he said.

“Australians are punters and it’s part of our history and culture and there’s no doubt pokies are a popular form of recreation for the working-class man.”

He said problem gambling rates in NSW had been falling and were below one per cent of the adult population.

“Clubs for a decade have been heavily invested in providing education for their staff and becoming better at identifying problematic behaviour.

“There is an abundance of information and people to talk to, and we want them to understand how poker machines work and allow people to exclude themselves using a web-based interface — every club with gambling does that and they care about their members.”

How interactive gambling can take hold

While a poker-machine player has the gatekeeper of a club employee, when it comes to interactive gambling it is done in private and on phones and home computers.

A problem gambler can place bets quietly and repeatedly without anyone seeing them to identify that there is something wrong.

ABC RN contributor Leigh shared his story of gambling addiction that eventually saw him convicted for fraud after stealing $130,000 from his employer to fuel his addiction.

“The bets would range anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000 a day. I would bet until 3:00am, try to sleep for three hours and bet again for another three hours on online racing in the United States,” he said.

“I always thought the stereotypical gambling addict was a working-class, middle-aged man or woman, sitting at their local club, feeding their favourite pokies machine four or five nights a week, but I rarely ventured into the local TAB.”

Mr Costello said each problem gambler in Australia will lose about $1,100 dollars per year, which is the highest in the world.

Singapore is next highest for losses ($800), then Ireland ($600).

“Having done this for 20 years, you start to think ‘maybe it’s time to give up’, but the encouraging thing is that we now are seeing such disgust from the public at sports betting,” Mr Costello said.

“We’re going to get a ban on sports betting ads before 8:30 at night, and that’s pressure the Federal Government has been brought under, so that’s a win.”

 

By Justin Huntsdale

Posted 6 Sep 2017

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-06/sports-gambling-taking-hold-of-young-men/8877420

With the 2017 AFL season nearly upon us, the sports betting agencies are gearing up for another onslaught of advertising across TV, Pay TV, radio, newspapers and the internet.  It really depresses me that our local game is now in bed with the betting agencies, so closely linked that the AFL relies on the money, while at the same time warning the AFL players of the dangers of gambling.  It was pleasing that some of the players have made comments about this irony recently, and with many AFL players now family men, they are also acutely aware of the responsibility they have to raise their own children in a gambling free environment – which is difficult to avoid when their kids are watching daddy on TV and there is a sports betting ad or odds update during every commercial break after a goal has been kicked.

GAMBLING advertising during AFL games is “out of control” according to Western Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood.

Wood took to Twitter during the telecast of Friday night’s AFLW game between the Bulldogs and Adelaide to raise his concerns and asked fans whether they agreed.

Wood’s tweet was retweeted more than 1000 times and had more than 2700 likes. Most of the replies were strong in their support, however some queried whether he would be prepared to play for less money if the gaming industry pulled its financial support for the game.

In a note attached to the tweet, he said the Bulldogs this week had their annual education session with the AFL, which he described as “both informative and well run.”

But he questioned why there was so much gambling advertising if gambling was such a big issue that it required an annual information session from the League.

“Why – as an industry – do we support the onslaught of gambling advertising you’re now faced with when watching an AFL game?” he wrote in the tweet.

“The obvious issue here is the effect this advertising has on children every time we pull on our boots. The big question is do we think the normalization of gambling – particularly to kids – is acceptable in this day and age?”

Friday night’s match was broadcast live on Fox Footy in Victoria, but the gambling industry advertises across all forms of live sport. The industry standard is that 10 per cent of advertising during live sport broadcasts can promote sports betting.

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Easton Wood

RESOLVING the issues surrounding gambling in the AFL won’t be easy but the conversation needs to happen, Geelong veteran Harry Taylor says.

Taylor said it was a concern to him that the eldest of his three children was able to name the gambling-related advertisements he saw when watching sport on TV.

However he said further education and discussion were critical if answers were to be found on the appropriate relationship between gambling and professional sport.

“When my eldest can name a lot of the ads on TV, that is a bit of a worry,” Taylor said.

“It’s certainly something that we need to keep talking about [and] educating people about. It’s not as simple as just cutting them out of the AFL.”

Western Bulldogs premiership skipper Easton Wood put the issue back on the agenda at the weekend when he questioned the level of gambling advertising during televised AFL games.

Wood wrote on social media: “Do we think the normalisation of gambling – particularly to kids – is acceptable in this day and age?”

Taylor said more education was needed for AFL players and society in general.

$814 million was lost on sportsbetting in 2014-15, which equates to $2 230 137 being lost by punters on sports EVERY DAY in Australia.

So if you think you can beat the system then well done and good luck for the future, as the hard evidence clearly shows that a lot of money is being lost by people betting on sports.  With the odds structures always favouring the sports betting agencies, they are taking their cut whether you win or lose, and then with the fickle nature of sports results, picking a winner is still no easier.

The only recommendation I can make to those who enjoy a punt on sports is to bet smart, look for value and ‘good bets’ and seek help if you are losing more than you are winning beyond the budget you have set for yourself.

Beaner

 

Punters lose $23 Billion

Richard Willingham and Benjamin Preiss
Published: August 22, 2016 – 8:02PM

Australian punters lost nearly $23 billion last year, with a 30 per cent growth in sports betting helping to drive a continued rise in annual gambling losses.

New Australian Gambling Statistics figures show Australians lost $1241 per head in 2014-15, with poker machines still the biggest cause of punter losses with $11.6 billion lost, an increase of 4.9 per cent.

The continued growth of punter losses reignited calls for state and federal governments to get serious about tackling problem gambling through action on sports betting advertising and pokies.

The annual compilation of all state and territory data shows that total expenditure, or gambler losses, hit $22.7 billion in 2014-15, an increase of 7.7 per cent on the previous financial year.

There has been an explosion in sports betting, with the sector growing by 30.1 per cent in 12 months – with predictions the exponential growth will continue.

But sports betting is still one of the smallest segments of the market, worth $814 million, compared to pokies, racing ($2.8 billion), and Lotto ($1.7 billion).

Traditional betting on racing was the smallest growing sector at just 2.7 per cent.

The Victorian government on Sunday announced a ban on betting ads near schools and on public transport, while Canberra is moving to crack down on offshore bookies, as well as strengthen consumer protection for local online punters.

There are also renewed calls from Senator Nick Xenophon, the Greens and Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie for poker machine reform.

Gambling losses in total for Victoria hit almost $5.8 billion in the 2014-15, with poker machine losses surpassing $2.5 billion, propping up Treasury coffers by more than $1 billion.

In NSW, punter losses hit $8.9 billion, with $5.7 billion lost on the pokies alone, sports betting worth $162 million and racing $945 million.

Across the nation casinos raked in $5.1 billion of gambler losses, with Melbourne’s Crown Casino hauling in $1.8 billion.

Monash University Public Health expert Charles Livingstone said the growth in sports betting losses was “phenomenal”.

“It demonstrates why we need to better regulate promotion and advertising. Otherwise we’re facing big growth in gambling problems and harm from young men and women,” Dr Livingstone said.

“But the 600-pound gorilla of Australian gambling is still the pokies: $12 billion in losses per year, and still growing, year after year. If we’re worried by sports betting, we should be 13 times more worried about the pokies.”

Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello said state governments could fix the “poker machine madness”

“[That is] if any of them really cared about the issue,” he said.

The Australian Gambling Statistics 2014-15 shows that in Victoria total per person gambling losses hit $1250. Pokies losses was the biggest segment with $558 lost per Victorian.

In NSW, per person losses were higher at $1517.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said the rate of problem gambling in the online sector was three times that of other areas.

“Many Australians love to gamble but we have to make sure the gambling environment is a safe one – that’s why we are cracking down on illegal offshore gambling providers and introducing much strong consumer protection for online gambling,” Mr Tudge said.

Deakin University associate professor of public health, Samantha Thomas, suspected sports betting had grown on the back of heavy marketing.

“While not all losses equal harm, a lot of them do. It’s time for governments to start to seriously consider the factors that are contributing to these growing losses and implement effective evidenced-based strategies to reduce harm,” she said.

“This includes addressing the factors from industry, such as prolific advertising or high intensity poker machines, that may be contributing to harm. Clearly, ‘gamble responsibly’ strategies are not having an impact on reducing losses or preventing harm.”

Victorian Gaming Regulation Minister Marlene Kairouz said the state government shared the community’s concerns about problem gambling. She said the government had invested $150 million over four years to support problem gambling services.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/australian-punters-lose-23-billion-half-on-the-pokies-20160822-gqyiz5.html

From the Age, July 15 2016

by Greg Baum

When Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie announced their mission to loosen the nexus between gambling and sport in Australia on Thursday, it was not hard to imagine that in the offices of some corporate bookies, the first thing they did was to frame a market on the likelihood of the politicians’ success, complete with cash-back options and bonus bets.

The next thing would have been to commission an advertising campaign featuring a bar and a couple of dorky young men frothing at their mouths while stroking their unshaven chins – quite dextrous, really – and two young women in the background, bestowing on them a patronising roll of their eyes.

“This is the gift horse everyone makes sure keeps its mouth shut.” Illustration: Jim Pavlidis.

It used to be said that Australians would bet on two flies crawling up a wall. It was an innocent enough image, implying friendly competition between mates at the manageable level of whatever they had in their pockets at the time, even if it did gloss over the certainty that one of them would always pick the wrong fly, yet refuse to give up, convince himself that the next fly on the other wall was a dead-set cert and be wrong again, with consequences no one much talked about then.

Now the cliche would be that Australians would bet on any two of thousands of contingencies arising out of happenings – not always sport – anywhere in the world, offered to them by a corporate bookie and outlaid and – sometimes – redeemed at the push of a smartphone button, no longer limited to loose change and ready cash, nor even by state or international borders, not restricted at all. Merry-making mates and the girls who so generously indulge them don’t come into it, no matter what the ads say.

The punt has become institutionalised, a miserable process. Australians used to be sceptical about institutions. Now we wear their T-shirts.

I can’t remember an election campaign like the most recent in the way the bookies’ markets were reported and dwelled upon about as prominently as the polls. The usual justification was that polls were not reliable, but the bookies rarely got it wrong. But they did this time.

Where does that leave us? Here, that the gambling industry has infiltrated every part of Australian life and become a massive force in it. Expect at the next election to hear Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – if it is still him – declare not that he is confident of victory, but that he sees himself as a $1.05 chance.

We’ll confine ourselves here to sport. There, it is a matter of following the money. If you bet on sport, some part of your wager goes to a television network in the form of advertising revenue, then on to a sporting body as vast rights fees. If you play the pokies at a club venue, the profits go directly to the club and form a major and growing part of their incomes (but not at North Melbourne). Downstream, this leads to social dysfunction estimated by some to be as endemic as the legacy of alcohol abuse.

But this is the gift horse everyone makes sure keeps its mouth shut.

Sports bodies make vague noises about social commitment and their dedication to developing other forms of income, all the while collecting more and more of this guaranteed jackpot. Just this week, it emerged that Collingwood had promised renovations to a pokies pub it owns in Ringwood, but only if it was allowed to install 10 more machines. Bookies are no better: they preach responsible gambling, but pay fast-moving lip service to it in almost comical disclaimers at the end of ads, small print in smaller voices.

The least but most obvious effect of all this calculated conditioning is to the amenity of the sports fan. Whether on television or at the ground, the bookies and their spiel are in your face: in ads, on an expert panel, on the scoreboard, in the call. Briefly, even the industry realised that they were giving people the irrits, and pulled their heads in, but only a little. This is where Xenophon and Wilkie would like to start, by reducing or even banning gambling advertising during sports broadcasts and at venues.

They know the power of the medium, for good and evil. That power was central to successful crusades on smoking and the road toll.

Just this week, it was announced that the AIDS epidemic in Australia was over. That fight began with a spectacularly memorable public education campaign more than 20 years ago. If messaging makes this sort of impact, then so must its absence. The Australian Wagering Council knows this. Its defence of the status quo is that betting advertising can be a force for good, directing punters to Australian providers rather than those nasty off-shore outfits.

Political will is negligible. In the election campaign, gambling reform was a non-issue, not mentioned by Labor or the Coalition and rarely even by the Greens, who have the most stringent policy.

The many schisms in the new Parliament offer hope for Xenophon and Wilkie, but only if one of the major parties warms to their objective, which seems unlikely. Otherwise, they might as well try fence in the industry with fly swats. They won’t surrender, but the bookies would say that you can have $10 the pollies, with the margin set at 80 points of order.

http://www.theage.com.au/sport/gambling-reform-dont-bet-on-it-20160715-gq6rxh.html

As I have mentioned previously, nothing is for free, especially when it is from a sports betting agnecy.  Read the dot-points to see where the problem lies:

Notice

And yes, the PDF I was emailed did look this crappy.

Beaner

AAP
April 3, 2016 7:45 PM

WHATEVER the solution to the AFL’s vexed issue of betting, League chief executive Gillon McLachlan is adamant it is not prohibition.

McLachlan admits there is some unease within the AFL about whether the League and its clubs should benefit from betting revenue, given the well-known social problems of gambling addiction.

But he added that there was a balance on issues such as gambling advertising at matches.

McLachlan said the AFL had worked with TV broadcasters so there were no live odds shown while the game was being played.

“People’s views are different – a number of people have very strong views about wagering,” he told ABC radio on Sunday.

“I have a view that is not universal around the AFL … that things that are legal and part of our game, our job is then to contextualise that.

“I’m also real about wagering – we are better off having relationships with wagering companies than not because we get access to information.

“We can protect the integrity of our competition.”

McLachlan added the revenue from gambling sponsorship helped the game’s growth but said it was an issue debated “reasonably regularly” at League headquarters.

He also said there is evidence that betting habits are changing, rather than more people are gambling on sport.

“The data basically is that betting is not growing, it’s just skewing from racing across to sport,” he said.

“The runaway train that people are talking about is not reflected in the numbers, (they’re) referring to a change.

“Maybe that means there’s a different profile of the people who are betting.

“I’m not in denial of the problem … the solutions are not as easy as people would think.”

With the idea being manufactured that gambling and AFL go hand in hand, the AFL is willingly normalising sports betting as an integral part of being an AFL fan.  Generations of young Australians will grow up believing that betting on the footy is a normal part of being an AFL fan, and the AFL is allowing this due to the revenue they generate from their affiliation and sponsorship with the sports betting companies.  Personally I think it is totally irresponsible to put the dollar ahead of the welfare of a generation of punters who could potentially have any number of gambling problems and addictions in the future.

Beaner

Gambling ads dominate AFL’s round one broadcasts

Richard Willingham.  April 1, 2016

Despite a community backlash, gambling advertising continues during TV broadcasts.

Football fans watching round one on TV were bombarded with gambling advertising, with more than one in six ads promoting gaming.

Despite a ban on ads for gambling during game time, data shows it was the second biggest advertising category over the four AFL games shown on free-to-air TV in Melbourne last weekend. Automotive was the biggest advertiser.

Of the nearly 200 ads screened in the Richmond v Carlton, Sydney v Collingwood, Port Adelaide v St Kilda, and Geelong v Hawthorn matches, 34 were for gambling.

CrownBet, the “official wagering partner of the AFL”, accounted for half of the advertising, with other bookies including Sportsbet and Bet365.

There has long been community concern about the proliferation of gambling ads. This is particularly so in sport, where experts have raised concerns that the association between sports and betting is “grooming” children by normalising betting.

Under an industry code of conduct, gambling promotion is banned “siren to siren” but is allowed to be screened before and after matches and during quarter and half-time breaks.

The Victorian government and many interest groups have urged the review of online gambling laws to look at stronger rules governing gambling advertising. Its report has yet to be released.

Samantha Thomas, a public health academic at Deakin University, said gambling was “a very adult product” which was being prolifically marketed in matches promoted by the AFL as being “family friendly”.

“There is a very clear ethical tension here that the AFL and broadcasters have not adequately addressed,” Dr Thomas said. “Kids tell us that it is the marketing that they see during sport that makes them think that gambling is a normal part of sport.”

“The AFL and broadcasters need to respond to community concerns and start to show some leadership in this area; putting the welfare of the community over the money they are making from gambling sponsorship deals.”

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation chief executive Serge Sardo said there was widespread concern about the relationship between sport and betting.

“We are concerned that gambling advertising is changing the way our youth view spot; we are worried about the long-term impact,” Mr Sardo said.

The foundation wants gambling advertising banned from all G-classified TV programs.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform chairman Geoff Lake has demanded the TV networks stop advertising gambling to children.

“It’s that simple,” he said. “This normalises an adult product in the minds of young and impressionable footy fans. If the networks aren’t careful, they could end up killing the golden goose, with parents just turning the TV off.”

The Australian Wagering Council said gambling advertising had to comply with a code of conduct.

“Australian Wagering Council members do recognise community concern in relation to wagering advertising and agree that advertising should always conform to accepted social standards,” a spokeswoman said.

“AWC members will continue to work with sport’s controlling bodies and government to address any concerns.”

Melbourne Football Club has become the ninth Victorian footy club to sign Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s responsible gambling charter, which includes a ban on a partnership with any sports betting agency or gambling promotion.

The charter has been criticised because most AFL clubs have poker machine venues, but the foundation says the charter requires extra levels of responsibility in pokies.

The AFL said it had no role in the operation of the broadcasting code, but it was the league’s understanding that broadcasts always adhered to the limits on advertising.

Channel Seven said it complies with the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice which contains extensive restrictions in relation to gambling advertising, particularly in programming directed towards children.

“Provisions introduced in 2013 also prevent the advertising of odds during live sports broadcasts,” a spokesman said.

“Commercial television free-to-air broadcasters are the only media platform with such comprehensive rules around the placement and broadcast of gambling advertising.”

Bookmakers were also contacted for comment.

These figures show there are less people gambling, but more money being wagered, which indicates problem gambling must be on the rise.  Will the government ever intervene?

 

Why Australians are gambling more than ever

Date: December 7, 2015

Perry Williams – Senior Reporter

Len Ainsworth believes Australians will always keep a fixed portion of their disposable income available for gambling. Photo: Eddie Jim

Australia’s great love affair with gambling shows no sign of levelling off.

Buried in last week’s national accounts was the startling statistic that Australian punters bet a record $6.5 billion in the September quarter, equating to $1000 a year for every Australian.

Those numbers represent a 6.1 per cent jump to $24.1 billion on the same period in 2014 compared with average annual growth of just 3 per cent during the past decade.

Len Ainsworth’s pokies business has been growing rapidly for the past five years, but its share price undervalues its future prospects, Motley Fool reckons.

But getting to the bottom of what is driving such strong gambling growth in Australia is baffling the industry.

Participation rates among Australian adults have fallen sharply in the past 15 years. Almost every state recorded rates above 80 per cent at the turn of the century meaning four out of every five adults took part in some form of gambling at least once in the year 2000.

By 2014, that number had fallen to just 64 per cent or about two out of three adults gambling in the 12-month period.

Growth in online gambling is also surging every month.Growth in online gambling is also surging every month. Photo: Bloomberg

What has startled many in the industry is that while there are fewer gamblers, with each year that passes they are betting more heavily.

“We’ve seen a drop in participation in gambling on a per-capita basis, but the expenditure on gambling hasn’t dropped,” Australian Gambling Research Centre manager Anna Thomas said. “What we are seeing is a smaller group of people gambling more heavily.”

By far the biggest gambling spend still comes via bets placed on Australia’s 200,000 poker machines. Online gambling, and sports betting in particular, is the fastest-growing area.

''The number of people we have as customers around the world is astronomical.''”The number of people we have as customers around the world is astronomical.” Photo: Bloomberg

“There was a period through the 1990s when there was a great increase in gambling. That then tailed off in the 2000s as the community came to realise the risks involved,” Ms Thomas said. “But that doesn’t account for people who are still gambling and gambling at very high levels, particularly on pokie machines. There also hasn’t been a drop in problem-gambling issues. There’s a group of people in the population who are experiencing substantial harm.”

Billionaire Len Ainsworth, the 91-year-old who made his fortune from making poker machines, attributes the lift in the amount Australians are betting to “natural” levels of growth.

“There’s a very simple answer: over the last 62 years that I’ve been in the business each year, every year the amount of money that goes into gambling is directly related to the state of the economy,” Mr Ainsworth told Fairfax Media. “If the economy goes up 5 per cent, you can bet the amount gambled will go up by that or even more.”

He argues Australians will always keep a fixed portion of their disposable income available for gambling.

“As they get more money or shall we say funds that they can spend, they will spend the same proportion of gambling as they do on everything else,” Mr Ainsworth said. “There’s nothing surprising about those numbers going up 6 per cent because I reckon we’ve had at least that much inflation over the period.”

The Ainsworth Game Technology chairman said the growth in online gambling is also surging every month.

“We’re involved in social gaming and the number of people who spend money on games is only 10 per cent. But the number of people we have as customers around the world is astronomical. We’ve got a huge number of people learning to gamble who’ve never gambled in their life for the most part and eventually, those people will try other forms of gambling too.”
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/business/why-australians-are-gambling-more-than-ever-20151207-glh52t.html#ixzz3tcpKIBL6
 

Yet another story of sports betting companies preying on someone with a gambling addiction.  The other story I read recently was about a sports betting agency lending someone with an intellectual disability $80 000 (which he didn’t ask for), which he subsequently lost, and they then wanted him to sell his family house to pay for the debt.  That story can be found here:

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/archive/money/lost-in-a-loophole-over-betting/story-fngu4es9-1227588868614

The quicker these laws are changed the better so people who do have a gambling problem won’t be taken advantage of.

Beaner

Problem gambler, counsellors call for online betting credit crackdown; Senate to consider tougher laws

By Kaitlyn Sawrey, Claire Aird, Jo Lauder, Stephen Stockwell for Hack (Triple J)

On Melbourne Cup day, Anthony received calls and texts offering him almost $10,000 in gambling credit, trying to induce him to reopen the sports betting accounts that cost him his business, friends and family.

His life slid out of control in 2013.

“I was given about $980,000 in credit to bet with companies, and of course I lost all that, because I was a compulsive gambler,” he told triple j’s Hack.

By September this year, he had bet a “totally ridiculous” sum of around $2.5 million.

Online gambling lenders are not held to the same standard as credit companies because they do not charge any fees or interest, which triggers lending regulations.

A recent report from Financial Counselling Australia chronicled the gambling industry’s practices of handing out credit and inducements.

The report title Duds, Mugs and the A-list was based on a quote from a former employee of a sports betting company.

“‘A-List’ customers are wined and dined and offered credit ranging from $100,000-$500,000,” the report said.

“‘B list’ customers are ‘serious credit punters’ and are offered up to $20,000 in credit. The ‘duds’ or ‘mugs’ are everyone else: this group is offered $200-$500 of unsolicited credit.”

‘Dedicated relationship guy’ keep in contact with gamblers

Anthony said it started out with bookies offering free bets and match deposits, but “what you don’t know is that once you’ve opened an account … very quickly they can tell whether you’re going to turn into a VIP — a very big loser. And you’re a lot of money to them, a good income source”.

He said once he passed a certain threshold — $500 in free bets, matched by his own $500 — then it was “game on”.

“They’ll go to any lengths to include you and give you options in things. Probably more so than your real friends probably would do.” Anthony

“They’ll come at you thick and fast. They will have a dedicated person who will ring you and look after and email you,” Anthony said.

“This person will offer you free sporting event tickets, free sport deposits, free bets for absolutely no reason. They’ll find out what you like to do in your leisure time. They will become your best friend basically.”

Anthony, a golf and rugby lover, was offered free tickets to events.

“You feel really important because you’re one of eight people sitting in a box at a sporting event,” he said.

“They’ll go to any lengths to include you and give you options in things. Probably more so than your real friends probably would do.”

He said at one point he had six or seven of these “relationship guys ringing me and chatting me”.

Anthony also had unsolicited calls from other companies offering up to $20,000 in credit.

“I used to say — where did you get my information from? How do you know who I am? And they would say, ‘a friend of a friend told me’.”

 

Companies penalised for breaching gambling laws

Financial Counselling Australia’s report into the industry claimed a “former employee [told us] sports betting companies swap customer account data, contrary to privacy legislation”.

“When a gambler ‘goes cold’ and stops betting with one company, the company swaps lists with another company, which then entices the person to resume gambling,” the report said.

Offering unsolicited credit is outlawed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, but it is not consistent across the country.

The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing told Hack it was investigating a number of operators, but could not go into detail.

However, they said Sportsbetting.com.au — which is licensed in the Northern Territory — pleaded guilty in Sydney’s Downing Centre Court in September to publishing an ad on its website offering 100 per cent bonuses to new clients who deposited funds into betting accounts.

The offer did not exclude NSW residents. The company was fined $1,650.

Penrith-based company ClassicBet Pty Ltd was also convicted of illegal gambling advertising just days before, after it published an ad for a “Premium Rewards Program”, promising punters would be “rewarded for every bet you place, regardless whether you win or lose” and offering bonus bets and “rewards” including shopping vouchers, sports tickets and holidays.

ClassicBet was fined $1,000.

 

Loans by betting companies ‘increases impulse betting’

Lauren Levin, manager of policy and strategic projects at Financial Counselling Australia, said the Northern Territory has the least restrictive legislation.

“Inducements are legal, and surprise, surprise, that’s where most of the companies are licensed,” she said.

“If [loans are] offered online by the provider, it makes it much easier for impulse betting, for chasing your losses.” Senator Nick Xenophon

When Hack contacted the Australian Wagering Council, they declined an interview. They said from the beginning of November, all wagering service providers in the Northern Territory were required to comply with a code of practice.

And also that “any call for the prohibition of deferred settlement facilities would result in customers accessing credit from unscrupulous operators like illegal SP bookmakers and loan sharks and illegal offshore operators, who have little regard for consumer protection or harm minimisation [sic]”.

South Australian senator and anti-gambling advocate Nick Xenophon disagreed that clamping down on the industry would push punters towards dodgy lenders.

“If it’s offered online by the provider, it makes it much easier for impulse betting, for chasing your losses,” he said.

“If you have to go and borrow money, take out a loan — it doesn’t allow the fuelling of the gambling addiction.”

 

‘Legislation has to change’

Next week, Senator Xenophon will introduce a bill to amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which would allow punters to self-exclude from online wagering services, set limits on monthly and yearly betting budgets and ban gambling advertisements during G-rated TV programs and sports broadcasts.

“It’s not just a question about ethics,” Senator Xenophon said, “it’s about… whether it should be legal. I don’t think it should be”.

“You can’t have credit if you go to a pokies outlet — that’s illegal. But it seems to be legal if it’s online gambling and that’s wrong. If you don’t have the money to gamble in the first place, why should you have access to credit?

“There’s going to be a whole generation of young Australians who won’t be able to afford to go on that overseas trip, or buy their first car or put a deposit on their first home.”

Anthony said he wanted to see legislation enacted that would stop others falling into the financial hole he did.

“When you’re left with nothing — I’m not talking about money, I’m talking about the love of family and friends gone – I mean, you go into a pretty dark place,” he said.

“It’s pretty hard to see your way out, you think you’re the only person in the world — how could I be so stupid?

“But you’ve got a disease of addiction. Legislation has to change to protect those who fall into that addictive pattern.”

Senator Xenophon said if the bill was not successful, people could expect to hear more from him in the lead-up to the next election.

“We’re already the number one country in the world in terms of losses, we’re number one in the world in terms of problem gambling,” he said.

“This needs to be an election issue.”

If you’re struggling with a gambling problem, there is always someone you can talk to on 1800 858 858. If you don’t feel like picking up the phone, you can chat to someone online here.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-04/problem-gambler-counsellors-call-for-online-betting-credit/6913036