23 August 2016
Australians lost 17.3 billion dollars in one year to gambling, more than 30 per cent compared to the previous year, new data released by the Australian Gambling Statistics on Tuesday showed.
The total gambling expenditure was more than 8,000 dollars per person over a 12-month period ending June 2015 which includes racing, gaming and sports betting.
“More than half of the money was squandered at poker machines, which amounted to 8.8 billion dollars and almost half of those losses were attributed to `problem gamblers.
“The Federal Government has it within its power to start fixing this as soon as parliament resumes, it can legislate immediately to introduce effective harm minimisation measures.
“This includes 1-dollar-maximum bets,” Australian parliamentarian Andrew Wilkie said.
He said that he knew of families who could not afford to eat or pay rent because of their gambling losses, and in some cases the subsequent debts had cost lives.
“Sports betting were the fastest-growing sector of gambling and the reason Australians lost more than 625 million dollars in 2014 and 2015, which was 30 per cent over the previous years.
“Governments can no longer ignore not only the huge amount of money lost on gambling, but the harm gambling causes to our communities,” Sen. Nick Xenophon, a long-time anti-poker campaigner, said.
Matthew Tripp, Head of CrownBet, one of Australia’s largest betting platforms, said that gambling and sports betting had increased.
He was supportive of regulating when and where gambling could be advertised, “but a blanket ban on ads is “fraught with danger.
“It’ll force a lot of these gambling dollars back offshore into an unregulated environment,” he said.