Sunday October 20,2013 : AUSSIE SPORTS BETTING ON THE RISE
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According to an article in the Herald Sun newspaper, Aussie sports punters will lose around A$200 million – mainly to foreign bookmaking companies with Australian branches – by the end of 2013.
A combination of aggressive advertising and sponsorship, and the convenience of mobile and online gambling technology have contributed to a rise in sports betting that has made this genre the fastest growing form of gambling in Australia, the newspaper reports.
Quoting 2009-2010 statistics, the Herald Sun claims that over all gambling types Aussies wagered A$160 billion in that year, losing 12 percent or A$18.5 billion to pokies (A$10 billion); casinos (A$3.5 billion); horse racing (A$2.6 billion); Lottery (A$1.3 billion) and sports betting (A$300 million).
Since then sports betting has grown to A$400 million a year, claims academic researcher Charles Livingstone at Monash University, who told the Herald Sun: "There's no doubt that it's growing faster than any other form of gambling."
Foreign bookmaking companies have been quick to identify a rising, if competitive, market, with international firms like William Hill plc, Ladbrokes, bet365, Betfair and Paddy Power all active in the Australian market, with some buying up local bookies like Tom Waterhouse, Centrebet and Sportsbet.
However, the newspaper claims, while these companies "…pay some tax and employ some Australians, the bulk of their profits are sent overseas."
Marketing spend by gambling companies Downunder has soared, with sports betting companies in particular spending big on advertising and sponsorships; around A$50 million on TV, radio and print advertising in the past year – a record amount according to Nielsen data, and twice that invested on sponsorship deals with clubs and related "integrated" marketing.
The chief executive of the Australian Wagering Council, Chris Downy, told the Herald Sun that marketing campaigns were a sign of increased competition for a limited sports betting dollar.
"It's coming off a low base. Sports betting still only accounts for 1.2 percent of total gambling in Australia," he said, noting that foreign-owned betting agencies paid taxes and employed around 1000 Australians.
Downy said all betting agency staff were trained in responsible gambling.
"We have systems in place and in some respects, because in the online space you know your customer better, you can pick up on customers who might be betting out of the ordinary."
Dr. Sally Gainsbury, an oft-quoted gambling researcher at the Centre for Gambling Education and Research at Southern Cross University, said there was a generational shift underway in the nation's gambling habits, away from pokies and towards online sports betting.
While the prevalence of adult gambling had fallen from 82 percent to 64 percent over the past decade, sports betting had increased rapidly, she claimed. About 13 percent of Australians will gamble on a sporting match this year, up from 6 percent a decade ago, she said.