Posts Tagged ‘TAB sportsbet’

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

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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.

It’s the Spring Carnival again leading into the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday (looking forward to the day off work for a horse race!), and the sports betting agencies are going into overdrive with advertising and incentives to win the punter’s dollar.  As you may be aware, making money from horse racing is nearly imposibble unless you have inside contacts to get information the rest of us aren’t privvy to, but even then the returns for the number of horses in the field always leads to ‘Bad Bets’ being made, and over time, they will bleed you dry.

Beaner

Melbourne Cup spurs online gambling as exotic products push legal boundaries

Anne Davies
Published: October 31, 2015

For most of us it’s a chance for a once-a-year flutter in a sweepstake or a plain vanilla bet at the TAB. By the time the Spring Carnival, horse racing’s most prestigious season is over, Australians will have bet nearly $1.5 billion since August.

There’s a war raging for the gambling dollar as multinational online gambling houses slug it out for a share of a lucrative but overcrowded sports betting market, worth about $750 million in revenue, but with turnover 10 times that. On top of that, offshore operators are trying to lure Australians – the biggest gamblers in the world – to part with their cash.

It used to be that to place a bet punters had to wander down to the dingy TAB or make a phone call. But increasingly online betting companies are testing the boundaries of the law to offer all manner of exotic betting: things like in-race betting – which allows punters to place bets up to 20 seconds after the horses start running, rebates on horses coming second and third, and cash or rewards schemes and other inducements to open an online account.

Simultaneously, mobile phones have made gambling more accessible anywhere anytime, particularly to a new demographic – young men – who have grown up transacting virtually every aspect of their life on the phone. And the companies want their business.

Over the last decade several big multinational betting companies have entered the Australian market, taking on Tabcorp with online betting shops. British giant William Hill took over Tom Waterhouse last year. Ladbrokes, also from the Britain is here, as is Unibet from Europe. Sportsbet, the home-grown online operator, has been taken over by Irish company, Paddy Power.

Before the Melbourne Cup, the online betting companies are offering all manner of inducements. For example William Hill is offering $150 free if you open a new account with $50, and Ladbrokes is offering up to $250.

The fine print says that the stake must be turned over at least two times before it can be withdrawn and because of laws prohibiting inducements in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, they are not available in those states. But by the time a punter realises he is ineligible, he will probably have signed up for an account.

Gambling is also the fastest-growing category of advertising on TV. Until 2009 advertising by interstate gambling companies was banned by NSW and Victorian legislation. Most online companies are based in the Northern Territory for tax reasons. Companies allegedly relied on dubious practices such as giving journalists free credit in their accounts to mention their name. But in 2009 the High Court ruled the laws were a restraint of trade and since then it’s been open slather – particularly during sports events – even those televised at times when children are watching.

In the first nine months of this year, from January to September, the industry spent $107.6 million on TV ads alone, up 38 per cent on the same period in 2014, according to Standard Media Index, a company which measures advertising spends. And those figures don’t include the massive spend for the Spring Carnival and the Melbourne Cup.

Gambling has become a lifeline for free-to-air television. Standard Media Index chief executive Jane Schultz says gambling ads have rocketed from the 15th-largest category in 2014 to eighth.

The companies are also active on social media. They tweet to the football codes’ hashtags and post funny shareable videos on YouTube, featuring their logos.

But anti-gambling campaigners warn that online gambling, and the way it is being marketed, has dramatically raised the danger for young people.

In researching this story, I discovered that my 19-year-old and most of her friends have online gambling accounts. “Of course, everyone does,” she said, as if I had asked about Instagram. “It saves you having to go to the TAB.”

But it is not so benign as Instagram. Deakin University researcher Samantha Thomas says online gambling effectively puts a gambling venue, open 24/7, in your pocket. The marketing for online gambling is targeted towards young men.

One campaign showed legendary Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer on the couch with two blokes, wearing green and gold scarves as the national anthem played and pulling out their phones to bet on their team.

“The message was ‘betting is patriotic and entirely normal’,” Thomas says. “It’s a step in the normalisation of betting among young men. They are shown in peer groups, and sports betting is being directly linked with common symbols surrounding the sport.”

Once signed up, online gamblers can expect regular correspondence by email or even phone calls if they are valuable enough.

A few months ago the online site New Daily published a first-person piece, the confessions of a “retention officer“. He described how his job was to ring people who had been inactive and offer free bets or credit. Often he would find himself convincing someone who was desperately trying to give up their habit.

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, a long-standing campaigner for robust gambling controls, says online gambling and the way it is being marketed with matching free bets to get people to open accounts, free credit and saturation advertising aimed at young people, threatens to spawn a new epidemic of problem gamblers.

Because of its immediacy, online gambling, is as addictive as poker machines, he says.

“I am worried we will have a generation of young men who won’t be able to buy a car, go overseas, buy a house,” he says. “The scars of that will be long-lasting and have huge social consequences.”

In September the federal government finally initiated a long-promised inquiry into the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. It will be undertaken by former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell. Written in 2000, it’s clear the act is struggling to keep up with technology.

Take for example the issue of in-play betting – placing bets once a race or event has started – which is legal in TABs and over the phone but illegal online.

The policy reason behind the ban, Monash University researcher Charles Livingstone says, is that in-play betting online, unlike making a bet at the TAB, is instantaneous and continuous, offering a similar intense emotional experience as pokies. Punters can literally see the odds changing.

William Hill, headed by Tom Waterhouse locally, along with another British rival Bet365 have been operating a controversial service. It requires punters to keep their smartphone microphone on, while placing bets online. This they say, makes it a phone service, within the law.

A few months ago, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which has responsibility for internet services, referred William Hill to the Australian Federal Police after a complaint. This week the AFP said it would not investigate, based on resourcing issues, leaving the service’s legality still up in the air.

“This is a great outcome for Australian punters who will no longer be forced to bet In-Play via illegal offshore bookmakers which pose a huge threat to both consumer protection and the integrity of Australian sport,” Waterhouse said.

“Throughout the development and before launching In-Play, William Hill took prudent steps to ensure In-Play is a ‘telephone betting service’ that is 100 per cent legal and compliant under the Interactive Gambling Act,” he said.

“What sets William Hill apart as a company is its willingness to push the boundaries through technology and innovation to give its customers something much better.”

But whether the review will delve into this and other more pressing social questions arising out of the growth of online services remains to be seen.

The review makes it clear that its primary focus is illegal offshore based services which ignore the Australian laws. As well as offering prohibited casino games like roulette and pokies online, they sidestep licensing, tax and harm-minimisation codes.

“It is estimated that offshore wagering is a $1 billion annual illegal business in Australia,” then social services minister Scott Morrison said when he announced the review.

Xenophon says that there is no doubt that the illegal offshore sites have caused “enormous hardship”. “People have lost huge amounts of money especially to operators based in Gibraltar,” he says.

But that’s only part of the issue, he says, as evidenced by the 2013 report by the Department of Communications into online gambling and the submissions of Financial Counselling Australia.

The promotion and marketing, provision of free credit, unfettered by the consumer credit legislation, offering inducements and other aspects of the local online industry also need to be tackled, he says.

The fourth term of reference of the review appears to provide scope to look at locally based online gambling. It says the review will look at “the efficacy of approaches to protect the consumer – including warnings, information resources, public information campaigns and any other measures, regulatory or otherwise, that could mitigate the risk of negative social impacts on consumers”.

Interestingly, there is no mention of advertising, and The Australian has reported the TV networks argued vociferously against it being specifically included.

A spokesman for the new minister, Christian Porter, said term 4 was deliberately broad and what was anticipated is that it will draw out issues and inform the formation of future gambling policy.

But others, like Livingstone are more sceptical, particularly as the inquiry is meant to report by December 18.

He’s also worried by the choice of O’Farrell to head the review, pointing out that both sides of politics in NSW are close to Clubs NSW and the Australian Hotels Association, both big players in the gambling industry. In addition, O’Farrell also granted the second casino licence to James Packer’s Crown, which is also an emerging player in online gambling.

“What worries me greatly is that in order to tackle people being hoodwinked by illegal offshore operators, there will be a recommendation to deregulate to allow Australian online services and clubs to provide casino-style games.”

Tabcorp, which as the incumbent is feeling the pressure from the new competition, is backing a broad review and calling for it to explore not only offshore but onshore online gambling and the tsunami of advertising.

“This review presents the perfect opportunity to define the type of wagering industry we want in Australia and address the inconsistencies,” chairwoman Paula Dwyer said.

“We believe there needs to be a single rule across the country in relation to the offering of credit by bookmakers. Northern Territory-licensed corporate bookmakers can offer their clients lines of credit, although TABs cannot. We believe the easiest way to address this is to introduce a single rule preventing wagering operators from acting as lenders and providing credit to customers. Nationally consistent advertising and inducement laws would reduce confusion for customers and wagering operators,” she says.

“We agree with the community that it is too much and would support sensible solutions to reduce the extent of the advertising.”

The Australian Wagering Council, which represents a number of the big online bookmakers including William Hill and Betfair says it anticipates interested parties making submissions to the O’Farrell review that may also raise issues that address the broader regulation of the Australian online wagering industry.

The Australian Wagering Council considers the Australian regulatory environment confusing for both customers and operators.

“The promotion and delivery of responsible gambling and harm-minimisation measures is a key aspect of good regulation. The Australian Wagering Council has long acknowledged the importance of commercially sensible regulation of advertising, product offers and inducements and deferred settlement facilities,” it says.

This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/melbourne-cup-spurs-online-gambling-as-exotic-products-push-legal-boundaries-20151030-gkmmm0.html

To think that problem gamblers could end up owing money to the agencies they have already lost all their money too is very disturbing to me. Like the growth in payday loan companies, problem punters can get drawn to the idea that they can bet today and pay it back tomorrow, especially if they have the belief they are going to win. The reality though is that the majority will lose, and the few that may win this time will no doubt lose the next week or the week after, for if this blog has taught you anything, you’ll know that winning consistently on sports betting is difficult, and it is never easy to turn a profit no matter how good a tipster or insightful a gambler you are. The lure of landing the big payoff bet is a false hope too, for again, as many punters that do pull this off once in a while, there are many more that try and fail and end up losing all their money chasing the big one.

I read about a punter who had a big bet on the EPL soccer last weekend (22nd August 2015), betting $15 000 on Swansea to beat Sunderland at 2 to 1. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. A quick analysis under the good bet theory shows that they were betting on a match with 3 possible outcomes while only getting a 2-1 return, which is not a good bet. If they’d bet on the draw, they would have got odds of about 3.30, which is a good return over the 3 outcomes. And I don’t care how big a favourite one team is over the other pre-match, on the ground anything can happen and there is no such thing as a sure thing in sport, and to bet on an event believing you can’t lose is always going to be reckless. And if one team is heavily favoured over another to win, then the odds will reflect this and the return will be so low it would not be worth gambling on, for the likelihood of a small return does not outweigh the risk of an upset result.

You would hope that the government and authorities will take steps to block this option for punters to get loans from sports betting agencies, but there is a conflict of interest too as any drop in gambling revenue will mean a drop in the amount of tax the governments collect. It is in the government’s best interest for their citizens to gamble at the current levels to maintain the expected income, which would also be factored into the yearly budgets. As has been discussed before, governments are now reliant on this stream of income. I’ve no doubt they do have a desire to help problem gamblers, but they are also more than happy for the rest of the population to gamble just enough, just below the threshold of what is classified as a problem gambler. Move along, nothing to see here…

Beaner

Sports betting: call to ban unsolicited credit offers as problem gambling rises
‘If this is the future of gambling, it is indeed frightening,’ says peak body for financial counsellors, concerned at tactics used to draw in punters

Michael Safi

Monday 17 August 2015

Sports betting agencies should be “urgently” banned from extending credit to punters, a new report has recommended, amid signs of a surge in gamblers seeking help for excessive online betting.
Inducements, unsolicited credit, tactically withholding payouts, and possible breaches of the Privacy Act are some of the alleged methods employed by sports betting agencies in a largely “uncontrolled” industry, according to the report by Financial Counselling Australia (FCA).

“If this is the future of gambling, it is indeed frightening,” the report said, arguing that if credit was not banned, bookmakers should at least be forced to comply with credit laws requiring them to formally assess whether a punter has any chance of repaying credit.

It also called for new punters to be required to nominate a maximum bet amount, a ban on advertising links between payday lenders and sports betting sites, and a national register for people who want to self-exclude (rather than each company keeping a separate register).

Betting revenues are thought to have surged since the proliferation of smart phones and legal changes allowing betting sites to advertise during sports broadcasts.

Just how much is being gambled online on sport is yet to be quantified, but the advertising spend by betting agencies increased fourfold between 2010 and 2013 to nearly $48m, according to monitoring firm Ebiquity.

Gambling help clinics in Melbourne and Sydney have reported a tripling and doubling respectively in the number of sports betting clients they have treated in the past few years, according to an investigation by ABC Radio’s Background Briefing.
Launching the report on Monday, the independent senator Nick Xenophon said he would introduce a bill shortly to ban betting on credit.

“[Online sports betting] turbocharges the risks of problem gambling. Internet sports betting firms are using aggressive, high-tech strategies to target young men, increasingly to the point of ruin,” he said.

One case study included in the report detailed how one man was offered up to $500 in free bets by one betting company, and went on to gamble away the proceeds of the sale of his home.

In another, a man attempted suicide due to his gambling debts and emerged from hospital to an offer by one company to take him to a boxing match.

At least one customer already in debt was encouraged to whittle down what he owed by betting more and was offered extra credit, according to an email obtained by FCA.

“We were also told by a former employee that sports betting companies swap customer account data, contrary to privacy legislation,” the report said.

“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 Australian Wagering Council (AWC), an industry group, said it would “carefully examine the issues” raised in the report, but said new regulations on the gambling operators were “unnecessary”.

“There is no evidence-based research to suggest that changes in consumer behaviour, including customers choosing sports betting in preference to other forms of gambling … has led to an increase in problem gambling,” it said.

“Wagering on sport comprises only 2.3% of Australia’s total annual gambling spend, with the vast majority, 52.4%, of Australia’s gambling happening on poker machines in pubs and clubs.”

The AWC said it agreed with the call for a national self-exclusion register and that credit – which it said had always been available from bookmakers – should never be offered unsolicited.

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/17/sports-betting-call-to-ban-unsolicited-credit-offers-as-problem-gambling-rises

It is sad to see that governments in some states and territories are making it easy for people with gambling addictions to blow their money.  The gambling industry was opposed to the reforms of the previous Gillard government, and now that the LNP are in charge, those reforms are all but gone or being ignored as problem gamblers are once again encouraged to spend their money on poker machines and the TAB in venues, pubs and clubs.  The power of the gambling industry is making this possible, where they have made large donations to governments at state and federal levels to win government support, where in return the government takes no action on recommended reforms and guidelines to help problem gamblers and people with gambling addictions as the increase in gambling revenue equates to an increase in their tax revenue.  This article poses the pertinent question; if Australians spend more per head on gambling than any other country, why are governments encouraging further growth of a harmful industry?  And the simple answer is that governments are themselves addicted and reliant on the tax generated from the gambling industry, to the point where the cost of reforms and restrictions to help problem gamblers outweighs their need to generate revenue from this insidious source.

Gambling pays off … for Australian governments

By Mike Steketee

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-17/steketee-gambling-pays-off-for-australian-governments/6625170

State and territory governments increasingly rely on gambling tax for revenue, which helps explain why Australia is currently going backwards on the issue despite clear evidence of a public health threat, writes Mike Steketee.

Two weeks ago, the Baird Government in NSW introduced changes to make life easier for serious poker machine players. That is part of a trend, with governments in Canberra, Queensland and the Northern Territory going down the same path. After its comprehensive demolition of the Gillard government’s reforms to tackle problem gambling, the gambling industry has pressed home its advantage by extracting further concessions to increase its profits, guarantee its further expansion, and increase the misery of the estimated 115,000 mainly low-income Australians with a serious gambling addiction – one mostly caused by the pokies. However, there are signs of pushback.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has been formed to co-ordinate the activities of church and community groups who speak for the 70 per cent of Australians who said in 2011 that gambling should be more tightly controlled. Separately, Neil Lawrence, the ad man who created the Kevin 07 campaign, has left a significant legacy after his sudden death this week in the Maldives: a powerful documentary, scheduled to be shown on the ABC, revealing how pokies are specifically engineered to encourage addiction. In the meantime, as a result of the most recent changes, gamblers in NSW clubs can now store $5,000 in an account or a smart card – a 25-fold increase from the previous standard limit of $200. As well, they can receive up to $5,000 of their winnings in cash, whereas previously amounts over $2,000 had to be paid by cheque or electronic funds transfer.

Monash University’s Charles Livingstone, an authority on gambling issues, says it is hard to fathom why a player would want $5,000 so readily at hand unless they had a very serious issue with poker machine gambling. He describes the other measure – raising the threshold for cheques or EFT to $5,000 – as “a recipe to ensure that problem gamblers … simply pour their winnings back into the machine ASAP”. But wait, that’s not all. In what the government argues is a counter-balance, there is a reduction from $10,000 to $7,500 in the maximum amount pokie players can insert and store in machines and an increase from three to six months in the minimum period problem gamblers can ban themselves from venues. If that looks like tokenism, that is because it is. Livingstone told me that the reduction from $10,000 to $7,500 is meaningless: This is supposed to be a harmless entertainment. Why on earth would you need to put $7,500 in a poker machine in a club or pub if it were genuinely merely harmless fun?

The only impact of this is to make money laundering slightly more difficult, but only slightly. He describes self-exclusion as a useful strategy for a small number of people, but says it is far more honoured in the breach than in the observance. The changes stem from a pre-election commitment by the NSW Liberals and Nationals to secure the support of Clubs NSW, the most powerful part of the lobby that mounted an expensive campaign to torpedo the Gillard government’s plans for gambling reform. The measures are spelled out in a memorandum of understanding that also includes a promise to “retain existing gaming machine operating conditions”, with any proposals for change requiring “rigorous assessment” and consultation. In other words, don’t dare lift a finger without telling us or we’ll hit you with another campaign. Needless to say, the public were not party to this agreement. There are some common themes in the backsliding by governments.

In Queensland, the Newman government also changed the rules to allow winnings of up to $5,000 to be paid in cash. Previously, jackpots could only be paid out by cheque and the cheque could not be cashed at the gambling venue for at least 24 hours – tougher rules than those that used to apply in NSW. Like the Baird Government, the Newman government justified this and a raft of other changes in the name of reducing red tape. Livingstone and his Monash University colleague Louise Francis had a different explanation in a report last year commissioned by the Anglican Church: This is clearly in the interests of EGM [electronic gaming machine or poker machine] venue operators and against the interests of people experiencing issues with gambling… In our opinion, this is a wholly detrimental measure that cannot be justified on ‘red tape reduction’ principles. Instead it appears intended to increase the likelihood that EGM users, especially problem gamblers who win substantial amounts, will, in all likelihood, lose those funds at the same venue.

The Queensland changes also increase the number of poker machines allowed under a club licence from 280 to 500, with a maximum of 300 at one venue. Livingstone and Francis said the likely effect would be to increase the average size of venues with poker machines and that it was well established that larger establishments generated more revenue per machine. “There is significant potential for exacerbating gambling related harm in vulnerable communities as a result of increasing allowable machine numbers in venues,” they said.

Last December, the Northern Territory Government announced an increase in the number of poker machines allowed in hotels from 10 to 20 and in clubs from 45 to 55. What of the $150,000 donation by the Australian Hotels Association to the governing Country Liberal Party before the last election? We have the word of Gaming Minister Peter Styles that it did not influence the Government’s decision. These measures are on top of the Abbott Government’s repeal last year, with Labor’s support, of the few measures that survived the onslaught from the clubs on the Gillard government.

They included limits on withdrawals from ATMs, the installation of so-called pre-commitment technology on replacement poker machines so as to allow players to nominate beforehand the maximum amount they were prepared to lose, and a trial of a mandatory pre-commitment scheme. Together, these decisions represent a big step in the wrong direction at a time when studies by the Productivity Commission and others have confronted us with the reality of problem gambling – bankruptcies, family break-ups, crime and suicide. Addiction to gambling is as much a public health issue as smoking or drug addiction. What governments have done is akin to re-introducing smoking in restaurants and bars.

Total gambling expenditure per head in Australia grew after inflation from $577 in 1986-87 to $1,179 in 2011-12. That meant total gambling losses of $20.5 billion in 2011-12, 84 per cent of it on gaming, with the rest on racing and sports betting. Considering Australians spend more per head on gambling than any other country, why are governments encouraging further growth of a harmful industry? Because government policy on gambling is compromised on multiple fronts. State and territory governments increasingly have relied on it for revenue, with their takings almost doubling after inflation to $5.5 billion in the 25 years to 2011-12.

With the growth of the industry has come the increase in the power of the clubs and hotel lobbies, and that power has included making political donations. In the Northern Territory, the Australian Hotels Association gave the same amount – $150,000 – to the Labor Party before the last election as to the Country Liberal Party. The last time there were meaningful measures to control gambling was in Victoria more than five years ago. They included a $5 maximum bet – a change Livingstone says was introduced without industry opposition. He adds that a $1 maximum would reduce the harmful effects of gambling, given that 80 per cent of problem gambling stems from poker machines. Among the politicians, only independents like Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie are prepared these days to stand up to the gambling lobby.

Wilkie put a bill for $1 bets, among other measures, before Parliament last November but the Abbott Government refused to allow it to come up for debate. Xenophon plans to introduce into the spring session of Parliament a bill to apply restrictions to online gambling. This is emerging as a threat, even while the much larger one from poker machines remains to be tackled.

This is the formula to calculate the vigorish percentage for three-way events:

v = 100 * [(1/p + 1/q + 1/t) – 1] / (1/p + 1/q + 1/t)

Where v = vigorish, and p, q and t are the decimal payouts for each outcome.

This formula is most usefully applied to calculating the vigorish imbedded in the odds of a soccer game, where there are three result possibilities; the home win, the draw and the away win.

To see how this formula works, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at the differences in the vigorish collected by 3 different sports bet agencies for the same soccer match.

 

UEFA Champions League 18th September 2013: Manchester United v Bayer Leverkusen

TAB Sportsbet:  1.62/ 3.75/ 5.00

Sportsbet:  1.83/ 3.40/ 4.75

Bet365:  1.83/ 3.60/ 5.00

 

Using the above formula, the vig results are as follows:

TAB Sportsbet Vigorish

P = 1.62, q = 3.75, t = 5.00

v = 100 * [(1/p + 1/q + 1/t) – 1] / (1/p + 1/q + 1/t)

v = 100 * [(0.6173 + 0.2667 + 0.2) – 1] / (0.6173 + 0.2667 + 0.2)

v = 100 * [1.084 – 1] / 1.084

v = 100 * 0.07749

v = 7.75%

 

Sportsbet Vigorish

P = 1.83, q = 3.4, t = 4.75

v = 100 * [(1/p + 1/q + 1/t) – 1] / (1/p + 1/q + 1/t)

v = 100 * [(0.5464 + 0.2941 + 0.2105) – 1] / (0.5464 + 0.2941 + 0.2105)

v = 100 * [1.051 – 1] / 1.051

v = 100 * 0.04853

v = 4.85%

 

Bet365 Vigorish

P = 1.83, q = 3.60, t = 5.00

v = 100 * [(1/p + 1/q + 1/t) – 1] / (1/p + 1/q + 1/t)

v = 100 * [(0.5464 + 0.2778 + 0.2) – 1] / (0.6173 + 0.2778 + 0.2)

v = 100 * [1.0242 – 1] / 1.0242

v = 100 * 0.02363

v = 2.36%

So it is easy to see from these calculations that TAB Sportsbet is taking the most tax per bet on this game, while Bet365 is taking the least.

The other appealing figure from these odds surveyed is the 3.75 being offered for the draw by TAB Sportsbet.  If you are interested in betting on the soccer draw like I am, it would be in your interests to shop around to ensure you get the best odds for the draw on the matches you want to bet on.

The difference in odds is significant enough to warrant chasing the best price, and if you have learnt anything from the Champ Bros blog so far, you will understand that it is difficult to make a consistent profit from sports betting, so any edge you can find over the bookies will pay dividends in the long run.

The next post is going to examine the difference between Vigorish and Overround, as these terms are often interchanged incorrectly as they actually have different values.

Beaner