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Problem Gambling In Australia
1/18/2012 : INTERNET GAMBLING THE FASTEST GROWING IN AUSTRALIA
Problem gambling researcher publishes new study
Australian problem gambling researcher Dr. Sally Gainsbury appears to have again ignited the mainstream press headlines Downunder with the release of her latest study on online gambling, which she says shows that the phenomenon is the fastest growing form of gambling in Australia, and carries concomitant risks to compulsive gamblers.
Gainsbury's study of online gambling habits in Australia surveyed more than 6,500 people, and found that 50 percent of participants had taken up gambling in the past six years due to its accessibility and convenience.
''Australia is one of the strongest international markets for online gambling, particularly online sports betting, on which an estimated A$600million is spent annually,'' Gainsbury, a gambling researcher at Southern Cross University, said.
In the survey, Gainsbury found that close to 16 percent of online gamblers were problem gamblers, who lost on average A$825 a month. Half of problem gamblers had disrupted sleep and a third said their eating patterns had changed.
The well-known opponent of internet gambling, South Australian Independent senator Nick Xenophon said Australia already held the dubious title of the country with the highest gambling losses per capita and the greatest problem gambling rates.
''The next tidal wave of problem gamblers will come from online gambling unless we take urgent action now,'' he told local newspapers.
The study, a self-selected online questionnaire, found that internet gamblers participated in five forms of gambling, on average, compared with three forms used by non-Web-based punters. It also revealed that many people used the internet in addition to traditional wagering.
Online gamblers were more likely to be men who worked full-time or were students, were married or lived with a partner and had a higher income than non-internet gamblers. The majority of online gamers used the internet for race wagering and sports betting, followed by casino games and poker.
Between 2004 and 2008, the number of online sports wagering accounts increased by 103 percent, the study reports.
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