Tuesday May 29, 2012 : PROBLEM GAMBLING RESEARCHER OPPOSED TO IN-PLAY BETTING
 
This is a form of gambling where gamblers could chase their losses, says Aussie academic
 
Australian university online gambling researcher Sally Gainsbury is seldom at a loss for words on problem gambling and the internet punting environment, and she again voiced an opinion this week, backing a federal government intention to prohibit micro-betting, including ball-by-ball wagers on sporting games.
 
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation quotes Gainsbury as saying that micro-betting on individual outcomes within a game is very different to placing a single bet on the outcome.
 
"If you are looking at something that's like ball-by-ball betting on outcomes that are popping up within a game, this is a form of gambling where gamblers could chase their losses, could spend more than they intended, and it really could be an excessive form of gambling," she told the broadcaster.
 
Gainsbury was commenting on a recommendation from the federal government's Communications Department that micro-betting, including ball-by-ball wagers on sporting games, should be prohibited.
 
The federal government has released an interim review of the 2001 Online Gaming Act, with 35 recommendations that seek to strengthen consumer rights and halt harmful online gaming practices.
 
The Act was originally drawn up more than 11 years ago to reduce the scope for problem gambling through interactive and online services, and at the time placed Australia among the more progressive nations in the nascent internet gambling industry.
 
The government subsequently turned away from the regulatory and licensing route to one mainly focused on prohibition.
 
The review examines whether existing laws are adequate at a time when online gambling is growing, and changing technology is making gambling easier, and it recommends that micro-betting should be prohibited on all electronic mediums including the internet, telephones, smartphones and interactive TV.
 
It also proposes the introduction of a national standard for harm minimisation and consumer protection, and stronger enforcement and deterrent measures against unlicensed overseas gambling sites.
 
The interim report is open to public comment for the next month.