Consumer views on emerging trends and future directions for gambling in Australia, 2022
National Gambling Trends Study
This research summary presents findings from the 2022 National Gambling Trends Study surveys of Australian adults who gambled regularly (at least fortnightly) on pokies (N = 1,016) or bet regularly online on sports or races (N = 955).
Emerging gambling trends were identified through an analysis of responses from the consumer surveys for the open-ended question, ‘Are there any emerging trends that you are aware of in gambling?’ (n = 512).
Ideas for future directions were drawn from responses to 4 open-ended questions around views on gambling normalisation, availability/accessibility and marketing/advertising in Australia, as well as emerging gambling trends (n = 364).
The main emerging gambling trends identified by regular gamblers were:
- an increase in online gambling and accessibility to it (12.9%), especially in relation to gambling apps and an increase in online operators
- excessive marketing for online betting in the form of advertisements and sponsorships (11.3%) and promotions or incentives (9.8%)
- increased availability and marketing of online gambling/betting apps (7.4%) and ‘betting with mates’ or group betting (6.6%)
- concerns about the risk of gambling-related harm to young people (8.6%) and general increase in harm/risk of harm (7.4%)
- an increase in land-based pokies (4.1%), often with features that encourage increased expenditure (e.g. jackpots, higher stakes; 3.1%) and more attractive designs to entice gamblers (2.5%).
The main ideas for future directions in gambling put forth by consumers were to:
- ban gambling advertising (27.5%) or reduce/restrict gambling advertising (19%)
- make gambling less accessible/harder to access (9.1%) and strengthen gambling regulations (6.9%)
- ban pokies in pubs, clubs and hotels, leaving pokies located exclusively in casinos (6.6%)
- have more regulations and measures to prevent and reduce gambling-related harm (5.5%)
- reduce the number of pokies in venues (4.4%).
About the National Gambling Trends Study
This is the first release of the National Gambling Trends Study (NGTS) findings, which will be produced annually by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). The aim of the NGTS is to present timely information on recent trends, emerging issues and possible future directions in gambling participation and related harms in Australia. The information is relevant for gambling policy makers and regulators, service providers, researchers and the broader community. A long-term goal of the NGTS is to support the development and implementation of evidence-based approaches to prevent and reduce gambling-related harm in Australia.
The NGTS uses mixed-methods research, drawing on data from different sources to increase robustness and reliability. The current release is based on consumer surveys conducted online July–November 2022 with:
- people who gambled on pokies (poker machines or electronic gaming machines (EGMs)) on a regular basis (at least fortnightly) (N = 1,016)
- people who bet online on sports or races (also known as online wagering) on a regular basis (at least fortnightly) (N = 955).
This research summary is 3 of 3 published for the 2022 release of the NGTS. The full suite includes:
- Regular pokies gambling in Australia, 2022
- Regular online betting in Australia, 2022
- Consumer views on emerging trends and future directions for gambling in Australia, 2022.
The consumer surveys were convenience samples of Australian adults who gambled regularly (at least fortnightly in the previous 3 months) on pokies or by betting online on sports or races. They were recruited during July–November 2022 to complete the online survey, including open-ended questions on their views on gambling normalisation, availability/accessibility, marketing and advertising, and emerging gambling trends in Australia. Median survey duration was 18 minutes.
|Number of survey participants||Pokies gamblers (N = 1,016), %||Online bettors |
(N = 955), %
|Answered emerging trends (n = 512), %||Answered future directions |
(n = 364), %
|New South Wales||37.8||34.9||37.3||38.5|
|Australian Capital Territory||1.4||0.8||0.6||0.8|
|Mean age (years)||44||44||45||44|
|Birthplace, ancestry and language|
|Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander||7.2||4.4||3.3||5.0|
|Speaks language other than English at home||13.3||11.9||11.3||12.9|
|Relationship and household status|
|In a relationship/married/de facto||57.9||68.4||64.5||60.7|
|Lives with other people||81.1||81.8||80.1||83.0|
|Lives in a major city||76.5||79.2||79.1||76.1|
|Lives outside major city||23.5||20.8||20.9||23.9|
|Education, employment and income|
|Bachelor’s degree or higher||30.9||40.1||38.9||30.0|
|Median weekly income (AUD$)||1,000–1,249||1,000–1,249||1,000–1,249||1,000–1,249|
Emerging trends in gambling
The NGTS 2022 consumer survey asked regular pokies gamblers and online bettors, ‘Are there any emerging trends that you are aware of in gambling?’ in an open-end question. The responses of 512 regular gamblers were coded into key emerging trend themes (see Table 2).
|Gambling trend theme||Count||% of answered |
(n = 512)
|Increase in online gambling and access||66||12.9|
|Gambling advertising and sponsorships||58||11.3|
|Gambling promotions and incentives||50||9.8|
|Children/adolescents/young people at-risk gambling||44||8.6|
|Increase in and advertising for gambling/betting apps||38||7.4|
|Increase in gambling-related harm/risk of harm||38||7.4|
|Bet with mates/group betting||34||6.6|
|High/increased accessibility to gambling||26||5.1|
|General increase and normalisation of gambling||25||4.9|
|Offshore (illegal) online gambling (e.g. pokies, poker, casinos)||23||4.5|
|Increase in/new pokies in venues||21||4.1|
|Increase in online gambling products and ways to bet||21||4.1|
|Increase in/new online gambling operators||19||3.7|
|Pokies increased jackpot features, stakes and denominations||16||3.1|
|Esports, fantasy sports and virtual sports betting||16||3.1|
|Gambling in video games||15||2.9|
|Pokies design is more attractive to encourage use and spend||13||2.5|
|Availability of betting limits||13||2.5|
|Betting with cryptocurrency/on cryptocurrency markets||12||2.3|
|Bad faith or predatory online gambling operators||12||2.3|
|Increase in sports betting||11||2.1|
|Presence of help services and responsible gambling messaging||10||2.0|
|Watching online videos/streaming of others gambling||9||1.8|
|Pokies decrease in wins and small wins||8||1.6|
|Reduced betting odds/returns/wins||8||1.6|
|Gambling association with substance use (alcohol, drugs)||7||1.4|
|Money laundering and criminality in online betting and pokies||4||0.8|
Notes: Data coded from n = 512 open-ended responses to the question: ‘Are there any emerging trends that you are aware of in gambling (e.g. new types of gambling products, increases in harm, etc.)?’ 251 regular pokies gamblers (24.7% of total) and 261 regular online sports/race bettors (27.3% of total) responded to this question. Regular gambling/betting defined as ‘2 to 3 times a month’ or more frequently on the pokies or online sports/race betting in the last 12 months.
Increases related to gambling
The most common gambling trend observed by respondents was an increase in online gambling (12.9% of responses).
I think online gambling has made it more accessible, which could cause some to gamble irresponsibly and above their means. (Female, 56, online bettor)
Online gambling is becoming more popular, I think that’s dangerous as there isn’t an escape for some people, at least you can physically escape a club back to your home but not with online gambling. (Male, 33, pokies gambler)
The increase in online gambling was often associated with high or increasing accessibility to gambling. High or increased accessibility of gambling (5.1% of responses) was also often mentioned in association with gambling apps, an increase in online operators, gambling promotions and the potential for gambling-related harm. For example one online bettor commented:
With gambling becoming more online, there are now new features such as bet with mates, cash outs and other bonus perks that makes gambling far easier and more accessible. Young people are getting into gambling at a far more alarming rate. (Male, 34, online bettor)
Some respondents also observed a general increase or normalisation of gambling (4.9% of responses). High gambling accessibility, acceptance in society and marketing tactics were seen as contributing to this. For example:
Just being normalised as part of society and predatory online bookies who smash you with SMS and email offers, only to make a token regard to responsible gambling. (Male, 42, online bettor)
Respondents also identified an increase in online betting and gambling products and/or ways to bet (4.1% of response).
There are always new products being offered, different types of gambling options. (Male, 48, online bettor)
An increase and/or new online gambling operators was commented on by respondents (3.7% of responses).
There are definitely a lot of new emerging companies spruiking online gambling for some reason. There’s obviously money to be made in the industry. (Male, 60, pokies gambler)
There seems to be a growing amount of different gambling apps and companies. (Female, 27, online bettor)
Marketing online betting
Gambling marketing related to online betting was among the most common responses for gambling trends, particularly in relation to gambling advertisements and sponsorships (11.3% of responses) and gambling promotions and incentives (9.8% of responses).
The general sentiment by respondents was around an increase in advertising for online betting, particularly the excess of advertising on television, social media, during sports or races, celebrity endorsements and through the sports sponsorships by gambling companies.
A lot of advertising and ease of access, even just many more betting companies seem to be coming up! Heaps of advertising on social media too! (Male, 28, online bettor)
Appears to be a lot of advertising pushing gambling (particularly sports betting) as a ‘social’ activity.
(Female, 36, pokies gambler)
Respondents also highlighted the various promotions offered by online betting operators to entice or incentivise people to gamble. These included promotions in the form of bonus bets, return bets, cash back, free bets, deposit bonuses and odds boosts. For example:
Promotion to encourage people to open accounts. Then once opened, regular deposit bonuses making it seem like they are doing you a favour. (Male, 52, online bettor)
The betting returns and bonus bet incentives are becoming very common. Makes it feel like there is less risk. (Female, 36, online bettor)
Respondents opined that gambling promotions and incentives are particularly problematic for vulnerable people, such as children and those harmed by their gambling.
Pushed promotions and sponsored posts on social media are wrong. They can impact the vulnerable. No different to an ad for Dan Murphy’s on TV at 7 pm when kids and parents are watching. (Male, 37, pokies gambler)
The ads seem to be getting worse – making gambling seem like it’s some big exciting epic adventure.
I think it would be really bad for people who have a problem. (Female, 38, online bettor)
A handful of online bettors also mentioned a trend in reducing online betting odds, returns or wins, a contradictory experience to what is being marketed by gambling operators (1.6% of responses).
Other trends in online gambling
Some respondents related the increase in online gambling to the growing availability of online gambling applications (also known as apps: 7.4% of responses), such as on smartphones and tablets, making online gambling more accessible.
Mobile betting is particularly problematic because of its ease of access. (Male, 34, online bettor)
Gambling apps were often mentioned in association with exposure to marketing that promoted gambling apps.
I have seen more tv advertisements promoting gambling apps. (Female, 29, online bettor)
Respondents also mentioned an increasing trend for ‘betting with mates’ or group betting (6.6% of responses). This included the emergence and increase of online betting apps allowing people to gamble together, advertising and promotions from gambling operators pushing these group betting apps, and the targeting of young people to bet with friends/in groups.
It’s bad when you promote gambling as a blokeish thing to do with your mates. Makes idiots thinking losing money is acceptable if they do it with their mates. (Male, 40, online bettor)
Dabble is a huge social media gambling app that is currently on the rise and I believe will become the new norm of gambling. (Male, 20, online bettor)
Another trend mentioned was betting online on multiple product options at once, also called ‘multi-bets’ or ‘multis’ (5.9% of responses). This could be multi-bets in the same sports/race event or a multi-bet across different types of events (e.g. sports, races, esports, novelty events, etc.), which give the consumer the impression that they have higher odds of winning than they do.
Same game multis are huge in sport, so it’s not just who wins, it’s who kicks a goal, certain amount of possessions, etc. (Male, 38, online bettor)
Same game multi-bets are new. The odds are not good but the concept has been advertised widely. (Male, 75, online bettor)
Promotion of exotic bets like multis, which are an even more ridiculous product than just simple betting. (Male, 28, pokies gambler)
Offshore online operators were another emerging trend mentioned by respondents. These operators are illegally offering their services to Australians, especially those offering gambling on pokies, casino games, and poker (4.5% of responses). The general sentiment among respondents regarding online operators offering these products was negative (e.g. harmful, scams), regardless of whether or not they were aware the service was being provided illegally.
Online pokies are a killer, it doesn’t feel like real money until your life savings are gone. (Female, 32, pokies gambler)
Respondents acknowledged the newer online gambling products of esports betting, virtual sports betting, fantasy sports betting (3.1% of responses).
A handful of respondents also mentioned a rise in using cryptocurrency for online gambling and gambling on cryptocurrency markets (2.3% of responses).
Online gambling with crypto getting bigger. (Male, 22, pokies gambler)
Bets on cryptocurrency markets. (Male, 57, online bettor)
A smaller number of respondents commented on an increase in sports betting and its popularity (2.1% of responses), some attributing this back to increased online accessibility.
Sports betting I think is now the most popular as it is now more accessible. (Female, 41, online bettor)
Another observed trend for online gambling was watching others gamble online, often through streaming platforms (e.g. YouTube) or social media (e.g. TikTok) (1.8% of responses). Where the gambling product was mentioned, all related to the illegal activity of online gambling on casino games or pokies with false impressions of the gambler winning.
Online casinos and slots are becoming very popular I see a lot of it on TikTok, they look like kids games.
(Male, 24, online bettor)
Online slot channels on YouTube or other streaming services. They can give false win/losses to people watching. (Female, 38, pokies gambler)
Trends for land-based pokies
Respondents noticed a trend in land-based venues having an increase in poker machines, which were often new and more attractive in their designs to entice people to gamble (4.1% of responses).
The venues keep updating the machines. Especially the machines that are popular. (Female, 78, pokies gambler)
New pokies that have me staying longer. (Male, 23, pokies gambler)
Respondents often described the new attractive machines as having enhanced audio and visual features (i.e. different sounds, brighter, louder, flashing lights), making them more exciting and addictive (2.5% of responses).
More addictive machines. The machines are designed to release dopamine as the brain discovers patterns on each spin. (Male, 33, pokies gambler)
The poker machines noise and colours are designed to keep you playing. (Female, 64, pokies gambler)
The new design of the machines mentioned by respondents also highlights features geared towards increasing the gambler’s expenditure, including offering big jackpots, increases in amounts staked and larger machine denominations, including using notes over coins (3.1% of responses).
Linked jackpot systems, e.g. dragon link, lightning link, midnight express, etc. The current trend is hold/collect and spin features. (Male, 29, pokies gambler)
As with online betting, despite the increased features of poker machines to encourage greater expenditure, consumers noticed a trend in decreased wins and small wins on the pokies (1.6% of responses), especially in lieu of chasing a large jackpot.
The thing that stands out to me is the style of pokies which are becoming more popular in clubs ... big jackpots rather than small wins. (Male, 67, pokies gambler)
Gambling in video games
Gambling in video games was another trend identified (2.9% of responses). Participants mentioned video gaming products such as simulated gambling (e.g. casino, slots or poker games on apps), loot boxes (virtual containers with random rewards) and in-game spending.
All products were viewed as gambling activities, with some commenting that they are targeted towards children and young people.
I think video games is starting to trend as a way of gambling. Buying in to get help to pass certain levels or to buy new weapons, etc., is tempting for kids. It’s not always guaranteed to pass levels so spending money on games is kinda a new sort of gambling aimed at a younger and more vulnerable demographic.
(Male, 38, pokies gambler)
Casino games on your phone, too easy to be hooked by free spins that really are not – easy for teens to access. (Female, 41, online bettor)
One participant described their engagement with loot boxes in video games, including using in-game currency for purchasing loot boxes in chasing a random reward.
Not sure if this is new, but loot boxes in games, even if not asking for actual money, is gambling (reminds me of pokies. You get some ‘reward’ but not the one you wanted). I’d not bother ever to use real money to pay for them, but have emptied in the past most of my game bank (i.e. game money made while playing the game) to get desired cosmetics from loot boxes. (Female, 56, pokies gambler)
Concern about online operators and crime
Online bettors expressed their belief that online gambling operators were engaged in bad faith or predatory actions that restricted or banned consumers winning (2.3% of responses). This included legal online ‘bookmakers’ and illegal online (overseas or offshore) gambling operators, particularly online casinos/slots.
Individuals being banned by online betting operators was most often mentioned due to winning too frequently.
Increases in the prevalence of bookies limiting winning punters … this has been a strong trend over the past 10 years. It [is] cheaper and easier for bookies to spend money on removing winning punters than to set efficiently priced betting products. (Male, 38, online bettor)
Whereas the illegal online operators were considered to be scams and/or lacked consumer protection.
Ridiculous amounts of scam online casinos. Even supposedly reputable ‘review’ sites are suggesting and rating sites that are totally fake. So, even if you try to research and find a safe platform, you are still in danger of being ripped off. (Male, 47, online bettor)
Four participants commented on a trend in money laundering through land-based pokies and online gambling (0.8% of responses). Other criminal activities surrounding online gambling were scam online casinos (as mentioned above) and online betting accounts being hacked.
Gambling-related harm and risks
Some respondents were concerned about a trend in gambling-related harm, especially as it related to:
- young people (8.6% of responses)
- a general increase in harm/risk of harm (7.4% of responses)
- an association with alcohol and drug use (1.4% of responses).
The majority of commentary around gambling-related harm was about gambling products that are marketed toward, attract and are accessible to young people. Potential harmful products mentioned included sports betting, pokies, gambling in video games, esports betting and online gambling.
There was also a sentiment that the presence of gambling in sports, pokies in venues and gambling in video games normalises gambling for children and young people, facilitating underage gambling and/or early adult gambling and placing them as a ‘vulnerable’ group at greater risk of gambling-related harm.
More and more gambling is available online and it is so easy to spend/borrow money in advance, which may have significant negative effects to immature youngsters. (Male, 64, online bettor)
The trend of the younger generation being more eager to gamble as soon as they legally can.
(Male, 28, pokies gambler)
The sentiment around a general increase in gambling-related harm or risk was also mentioned simply as ‘increased harm’ or more people becoming ‘addicted’ to gambling. Occasionally respondents mentioned specific gambling-related harms including: lack of control over spending, loss of mortgages, social issues, family disharmony and suicide.
A smaller proportion of consumers mentioned an association of alcohol and drug use with gambling on the pokies in venues and online. Free or cheap meals and drinks available at pubs and clubs were also thought to be tactics used to incentivise venue attendance and gambling.
Support and harm minimisation tools
Several respondents mentioned measures to reduce gambling harm. The most frequently mentioned of these were betting limits (2.5% of responses).
I know you can create the betting limit to decrease the harm in gambling. (Female, 36, online bettor)
Other restrictions mentioned were apps to control spending and that clubs should be able to exclude gamblers when they present with harmful gambling.
I think it is good that a club can put an exemption ban on people entering a club and going to gamble. (Female, 64, online bettor)
A positive trend mentioned by respondents was the availability of support services (e.g. gamblers helpline) and an increase in advertising with ‘responsible gambling’ messaging (2.0% of responses).
Lots more messaging on responsible gambling which is good. (Female, 38, online bettor)
Consumer ideas for future directions
Data from consumer responses to 4 open-text questions around views on gambling trends and normality, accessibility/availability and marketing of gambling in Australia were examined for commentary around future directions for online and land-based gambling, with a total of 422 responses from 364 respondents. These responses were coded into themes (18.5% of total respondents). The respondents included 196 regular pokies gamblers (19.3% of subsample) and 168 regular online sports/race bettors (17.6% of sub-sample).
|Recommendations||Count||% of answered |
(n = 364)
|Ban gambling advertising||100||27.5|
|Reduce or restrict gambling advertisements||69||19.0|
|Make gambling less accessible/harder to access||33||9.1|
|Stronger gambling regulation||25||6.9|
|Ban pokies in pubs, clubs and hotels (in casinos only)||24||6.6|
|Ban or reduce gambling advertising during sports||21||5.8|
|More regulations and measures to prevent/reduce gambling-related harm||20||5.5|
|Ban gambling advertising on television||15||4.1|
|Government profits too much from gambling and therefore won’t take action||14||3.8|
|Better regulation for gambling advertising||13||3.6|
|Ban gambling advertising to those under legal gambling age (<18 years)||10||2.7|
|Improve controls around preventing underage gambling (e.g. age, ID checks)||9||2.5|
|Ban all gambling||8||2.2|
|Stop/reduce normalisation of gambling||8||2.2|
|Have measures to reduce gamblers’ spending||8||2.2|
|Restrict gambling promotions||6||1.6|
|Ban or have stronger regulation of offshore online gambling||6||1.6|
|Ban gambling advertising on social media||5||1.4|
|Have better education on gambling odds and harms||5||1.4|
|Winning online bettors should not be limited by gambling operators||5||1.4|
|Ban or reduce gambling advertising in the media||4||1.1|
|Ban pokies everywhere||4||1.1|
|Have pokies payout more||4||1.1|
|Remove in-venue incentives to gamble (e.g. free meals and drinks)||4||1.1|
|Other future directions (less than 1% each)||30||8.2|
Notes: Data thematically coded from n = 422 open-ended responses from 364 regular gamblers (196 regular pokies gamblers and 168 regular online sports/race bettors) to 4 questions: 1) To what extent do you think gambling is a normal part of life in Australia? 2) What are your views on how available/accessible gambling is in Australia? 3) What are your views on the ways that gambling is marketed and advertised in Australia? 4) Are there any emerging trends that you are aware of in gambling (e.g. new types of gambling products, increases in harm, etc.)?
Regulation for gambling advertising and promotions
Respondents made 224 suggestions around regulation for gambling advertising and promotions.
Over one-quarter of these responses stated that gambling advertising should be banned (27.5%).
There should be no marketing for gambling, the same as tobacco-related products and stores.
(Male, 33, online bettor)
You can’t stop people but the advertising needs to stop as it influences young kids. (Male, 45, pokies gambler)
Far too much emphasis on gambling advertising. It should be banned. (Female, 55, pokies gambler)
Another one-fifth suggested reducing or restricting gambling advertisements (19.0%).
Betting companies are predatory. It probably shouldn’t be advertised as widely as it is. (Male, 19, pokies gambler)
I think it is quite dangerous and can cause significant effects on people’s lives. I think advertisements should be minimised and younger people should be discouraged from gambling. (Female, 28, pokies gambler)
A smaller percentage of responses advocated for banning or reducing gambling advertising during sports (5.8%).
Betting advertising during sport events is a massive problem and should be restricted or reduced. It normalises the behaviour. (Male, 41, online bettor)
There is too much gambling advertising on television. I think gambling ads should be limited and only air after 10 pm. There are way too many ads for gambling during sporting programs also. (Female, 53, online bettor)
Other respondents suggested banning gambling advertising on television (4.1%) and/or social media (1.4%), and to ban or reduce it generally in the media (1.1%).
I don’t think gambling ads should be advertised on tv or social media. (Male, 28, online bettor)
Too much marketing on social media and tv. It needs to be cut back. (Female, 45, pokies gambler)
Should be treated like smoking – it’s a social harm. I think all ads should be banned (or on tv only after midnight). Not sure how you would control this via social media though. (Female, 56, pokies gambler)
If they are trying to discourage gambling then they should address the frequency of advertising in all forms of media for sports betting. (Female, 45, pokies gambler)
Other suggestions for changes surrounding gambling marketing were for:
better regulation for gambling advertising (3.6%)
There needs to be more controls and restrictions on gambling advertising. (Male, 41, online bettor)
There should be stricter laws on gambling advertising and the types of shows where ads are shown.
(Female, 48, pokies gambler)
banning gambling advertising to those under legal gambling age (<18 years) (2.7%)
I think online betting is probably far too accessible for children and teenagers, there should be age restrictions and ads for online betting companies are too prevalent too. (Male, 53, online bettor)
I think it’s too invasive and they should stop advertising it where children can see.
(Female, 29, pokies gambler)
restricting gambling promotions (1.6%)
New types of gambling products such as bonus bets, cash outs and bet with mates in the online space. This makes gambling far too easy. There needs to be more restriction on this kind of thing. (Male, 34, pokies gambler)
General commentary around gambling regulation, policy and government
Respondents made 95 suggestions around gambling regulation, policy and government actions.
Almost 1 in 10 of these suggestions were to make gambling less accessible or harder to access (9.1%).
It’s far too accessible. It’s become almost a fashion icon and more outlets are providing these services. It’s time that the government started limiting these outlets. (Male, 34, pokies gambler)
There are so many ads on tv and online apps that people can easily access that people do rely on. I think gambling is an inherent issue within society and I wish that more could be done. (Female, 29, online bettor)
Some respondents suggested stronger gambling regulations (6.9%).
It [gambling] should be more highly regulated. (Female, 24, online bettor)
Gambling is very much accepted as being part of normal life in Australia, and in my opinion is not regulated enough. (Male, 57, online bettor)
Yes, there should be strict restrictions and rules to stop gambling. (Male, 71, online bettor)
Other ideas for future directions were made surrounding gambling regulation, policy and government:
that the government profits too much from gambling and therefore won’t take action (3.8%)
It’s available all day, all night, it’s normalised, you can go gambling more often than you can access a chemist. The Australian government does not have an interest in reform because of powerful lobbying bodies and this is across the political spectrum. (Male, 38, pokies gambler)
to ban all gambling (2.2%)
Gambling is part of our culture. It seems somewhat hard to escape from … it’s everywhere and I find it bizarre that it’s so normal … it’s not monitored or policed as much as it should be. In fact, gambling should be illegal, or some other step needs to be put in place because our system is broken. (Female, 32, pokies gambler)
Gambling is an addiction sickness and needs to be eliminated from all walks of life. Gambling companies are preying on the weak-minded people and they are pilfered. (Male, 46, online bettor)
to stop or reduce the normalisation of gambling (2.2%)
I think it [normalisation of gambling] has become a problem in society and should be stopped.
(Male, 47, pokies gambler)
to have measures to reduce gamblers spending (2.2%)
Way too easy to be able to gamble in Australia, need more ways to block, stop and reduce and replace with a different motion to reduce spending. (Female, 39, pokies gambler)
Regulation for land-based pokies
Respondents made 60 suggestions around regulation for land-based pokies.
The main suggestion was to ban pokies in pubs, clubs and hotels, leaving pokies located exclusively in casinos (6.6%).
Too accessible, they are everywhere, if you really want to help us gamblers get rid of the pubs and hotels. I don’t want to see them on every street corner. I want my life back. (Gender not disclosed, 45, pokies gambler)
In some ways I think the other states should follow WA and only have the pokies available at the casinos. (Female, 29, online bettor)
I think it would benefit the community to see it removed from pubs and clubs … and restrict pokies to the casino only. (Male, 55, pokies gambler)
The other main suggestion was to reduce the number of pokies (4.4%).
Way too accessible and the number of poker machines should be cut down. (Male, 57, pokies gambler)
Too much [pokies] it should be reduced or at least reduced in NSW. (Female, 37, pokies gambler)
Other ideas for future directions for land-based pokies were to:
ban pokies everywhere (1.1%)
Gambling is a serious problem and pokies should be banned everywhere. (Female, 59, pokies gambler)
have pokies pay out more (1.1%)
The winnings [for pokies] should be bigger and more consistent so that people wouldn’t feel the need to go back if they lost. (Male, 42, pokies gambler)
remove in-venue incentives to gamble (e.g. free meals and drinks) (1.1%)
It is a serious problem that needs to be fixed. It destroys lives … Pub owners, workers should not also encourage us to play and continually entice you with free food and drinks knowing you’re in distress. They should monitor and prevent problem gamblers not to play and encourage them to get help. (Female, 44, pokies gambler)
Less than 1% of responses suggested the following:
- Ban all gambling in venues.
- Have pokies time limit/breaks.
- Have better in-venue consumer protection.
- Improve identification in-venue of self-excluded individuals.
- Improve monitoring of gambling.
- Remove ATMs from venues with pokies.
Measures for preventing and reducing gambling-related harm
Respondents made 36 suggestions around ways to prevent or reduce gambling-related harm.
The leading suggestion was for more regulations and measures to prevent and/or reduce gambling-related harm (5.5%).
I think gambling problems are one of the worst addictions to have. I don’t have a problem but have been affected by someone with a gambling problem and it nearly destroyed my life ... I think more gambling support needs to be offered. Especially since I believe gambling goes hand in hand with drugs and alcohol. (Female, 24, pokies gambler)
It’s marketed to younger males or as a way to make easy money. There needs to be more laws to prevent people ruining their lives with gambling because it’s easy and fun, it’s a hard habit to break. (Male, 38, pokies gambler)
Gambling is addictive and it’s far too easy to set up accounts and get hooked. There should be more protection for people who may become problem gamblers. (Male, 34, online bettor)
It would be good if an account can notice patterns of potential gambling problems and put on a block. (Female, 29, online bettor)
Another suggestion was to improve controls around preventing underage gambling (e.g. age, ID checks) (2.5%).
Gambling is too accessible to underage punters via apps and online gaming websites and should be restricted using more security checks to verify that punters are over the age of 18. (Female, 46, online bettor)
Tighter controls on underage gamblers having access to gambling methods. (Male, 49, online bettor)
Some respondents suggested having better education on gambling odds and harms (1.4%).
I think it has been far too normalised in this country. Not enough education around the dangers of gambling and how much it could potentially ruin a young person’s life. (Male, 34, online bettor)
Less than 1% of responses suggested for:
- more advertising, resources and enforcement of responsible gambling measures
there being a financial eligibility to gamble to be met prior to gambling, much like gaining credit.
It destroys lives. I wish it could only be done if you can prove you can afford it so you can not destroy your health and finances. It affects your mental health and feel more should be done to prevent any loss and self-destruction. I wish there was a way we can change the system and make it illegal if you cannot afford to use a poker machine and have no self-control. (Female, 44, pokies gambler)
Way too exposed in the media. Way too accessible. It’s good there is gambling help available but most people only reach out when they have already hit rock bottom. Gambling should be managed in a similar way that obtaining ‘credit’ is managed. (Male, 47, online bettor)
Regulation for online gambling
Respondents made 14 suggestions around regulating online gambling. These suggestions were around:
banning or having stronger regulation of offshore online gambling (1.6%)
Online gambling and overseas organisations taking large chucks of revenue and not paying taxes or keeping profits in Australia. It should be regulated better by the government. (Male, 52, pokies gambler)
that winning online bettors should not be limited by gambling operators (1.1%)
They [bookies] advertise their services to attract mug punters and then they ban or restrict you if they see you have an edge. I have signed up with over 20 domestic Australian bookmakers, 18 of them have either restricted or banned me … Gambling in Australia is highly accessible to losing bettors, winning bettors have a huge amount of trouble gambling in Australia … Forcing bookies to accept minimum bets would bring winning punters back to using domestic bookies and not the offshore service. (Male, 38, online bettor)
Nearly every online bookmaker preys on mug punters and restricts/ban/limits winning punters like myself – this is blatantly wrong and they should be publicly shamed. (Male, 49, online bettor)
Less than 1% of responses suggested:
- banning online gambling
- stronger regulation for in-play betting
- stronger regulation for mobile apps
- banning group betting.
Other ideas for future directions
Respondents also made other suggestions for future directions around gambling which counted for less than 1% of responses including:
- discouraging gambling in-video games
- investigations and legal actions against casinos and gambling operators for their shady practices
banning loot boxes and in-game purchases.
I would not recommend any form of gambling for kids or teens and implore the government to follow Belgium’s lead and place a complete ban on loot boxes and in-game purchases. (Male, 30, online bettor)
Hing, N., Russell, A. M. T., Browne, M., Rockloff, M., Greer, N., Rawat, V. et al.. (2021). The second national study of interactive gambling in Australia (2019–20). Melbourne: Gambling Research Australia. Retrieved from www.gamblingresearch.org.au/sites/default/files/2021-10/Interactive%20Gambling%20Study.pdf
Contributions and acknowledgements
This research was conducted by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies: Dr Rebecca Jenkinson, Dr Nancy Greer, Uma Jatkar, Dr Brian Vandenberg, Dr Kei Sakata, and Cailem Murray Boyle.
Featured image: © GettyImages/andresr
Greer, N., Jenkinson, R., Murray Boyle, C., Jaktar, U., Vandenberg, B., & Sakata, K. (2023). Consumer views on emerging trends and future directions for gambling in Australia, 2022: National Gambling Trends Study. Melbourne: Australian Gambling Research Centre, Australian Institute of Family Studies.
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