Interactive gambling

AGRC Discussion Paper No. 3 – November 2014

The rise of interactive gambling

  • Interactive or Internet gambling is any gambling conducted online, using computers, tablets, mobile smart phones or televisions.
  • Regulating interactive gambling and enforcing regulations is a complex issue.

Interactive gambling is a term largely interchangeable with Internet, remote, and online gambling. It refers to the range of gambling activities offered through interactive media, including computers, mobile and smart phones, tablets, and digital televisions. This mode of gambling, facilitated by technological advances, is not a separate type of gambling activity but is distinct from gambling in person at land-based retail outlets and venues and placing wagers over the telephone.

Interactive gambling is growing rapidly in terms of popularity, market share and products offered. The online global gambling market was valued at US$40.59 billion in 2013, an increase of 4% over the previous year, and is expected to reach US$50 billion by 2017 (Global Betting and Gaming Consultants [GBGC], 2014). Online gambling is predicted to account for 9% of the total global gambling market between 2015 and 2017. Globally, the largest online gambling product is wagering,1 accounting for 53% of the market, followed by casino games (25%),2 poker (14%), and bingo (7%) (H2 Capital, 2013).

Regulation of interactive gambling is a contentious issue internationally, with most jurisdictions examining the benefits and drawbacks of legalising and regulating interactive gambling. Based on considerations and international experiences and in recognition of the difficulties of enforcing prohibition, an increasing number of jurisdictions are legalising and regulating interactive gambling using a variety of models.

The advantages and disadvantages of legalising and regulating interactive gambling

Advantages:

  • Regulation of products, services, and marketing
  • Reduction in use of offshore sites
  • Required consumer protection and harm minimisation policies and practices
  • Policies can be implemented to reduce criminal activities such as fraud, cheating, money laundering and match-fixing
  • Revenue through taxation and licensing.

Disadvantages:

  • Increased total gambling participation
  • Increased use of interactive gambling
  • Potential for increase in gambling problems.

 

Footnotes

1 Wagering refers to placing a bet of monetary value on the outcome of an actual event and is distinct from betting on games in which outcomes are randomly determined.

2 Including electronic gaming machines or "pokies".