One of the most significant changes to the gambling environment in the past 15 years has been the increased availability of interactive or Internet gambling. Interactive gambling, including mobile gambling, is the fastest growing mode of gambling. This paper describes how and why Australians choose to gamble interactively. It will consider how interactive gambling differs from traditional land-based options and the differences between gamblers who do and do not gamble interactively. The discussion paper focuses on concerns regarding interactive gambling, including the risks it poses, particularly in terms of problem gambling.
Interactive gambling is increasing in popularity with intensive marketing being used to encourage greater use of this mode of gambling.
Sports and race wagering are the dominant forms of interactive gambling in Australia and interactive gamblers are more likely to be younger males.
Most online gambling occurs on home computers, but the popularity of mobile technologies is increasing, allowing Australians to gamble at any time, from any place.
Interactive gamblers tend to be more intensely involved in gambling than their land-based counterparts and more likely to experience gambling issues.
Harm reduction may be achieved through initiatives such as regulated gambling sites, community education about the risks of interactive gambling, specialised treatment and prevention programs, and improved understanding of the impact of new technologies on gambling behaviour.
Authors and Acknowledgements
The author wishes to acknowledge the valuable contributions of her colleagues who assisted with her research on interactive gambling, Professor Nerilee Hing, CGER Director, Southern Cross University, Alex Russell, CGER, Southern Cross University, Professor Alex Blaszczynski, University of Sydney, and Associate Professor Robert Wood, University of Lethbridge. The author would also like to acknowledge and thank the Menzies Foundation and Gambling Research Australia for providing funding for and commissioning research on interactive gambling in Australia.
Dr Sally Gainsbury is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Gambling Education & Research at Southern Cross University. Dr Gainsbury has led and been a co-investigator on two of the largest studies of interactive gambling in Australia. She was invited to consult with the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy in their review of the Interactive Gambling Act, and has been asked to provide expert testimony and submissions to numerous Australian state and federal inquiries into gambling as well as international government regulators. She has also assisted in the development of online responsible gambling practices, prevention strategies and treatment options for national and international stakeholders.
Gainsbury, S. (2014). Interactive gambling: A discussion paper (AGRC Discussion Paper). Melbourne: Australian Gambling Research Centre.
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