Friday July 6,2012 : ONLINE GAMBLING A POPULAR PASTIME DOWNUNDER
In 2010 there were 130,000 Aussies playing on offshore internet gambling sites…how many now?
The Canberra Times has quoted some interesting internet gambling numbers relevant to Australia, albeit from a 2010 survey.
In a discussion on the legalization debate in Australia, the newspaper reports that in 2010, 130,000 Aussies were playing on offshore internet gambling sites, with foreign operators reaping over A$68 million a year from the business.
Online casino games, including poker, are currently illegal in Australia. But in May this year the federal government released an interim review of interactive gaming laws that recommended legalising internet poker games, as part of overall liberalising of industry
The newspaper quoted from a survey by the German research company Academicon, and from figures supplied by the University of Hamburg in Germany, which claims that in 2010, 36,000 Aussies were playing online from New South Wales alone, and another 31,915 were regularly active in the territory of Victoria.
By contrast, the Productivity Commission investigation in 2010 estimated that up to $800 million could be spent on online gambling with $249 million on online poker alone. It also said there were 363,100 poker accounts active in Australia in 2008.
The German study indicates that the majority of punters played only occasionally, for small amounts, for just a short while and at only one table.
Monash University Public Health expert Charles Livingstone told The Canberra Times that the figures were unsurprising but suggested it was likely the figure was on the low side of current use.
”In any event, the data held by the University of Hamburg's database is undoubtedly useful, but probably not as a source of overall prevalence or expenditure figures,” Dr Livingstone said.
”Liberalisation of online gambling is feasible and should start as the Productivity Commission suggested with the liberalisation of online poker, but not before serious and nationally consistent harm minimisation measures are properly regulated by the federal government, not the states,” Dr Livingstone opined.