Has Something Changed In Gambling?

Gambling has been one of the most popular pastime activities for centuries. However, the number of gamblers has increased enormously in the 21st century. This phenomenon is easy to explain. The popularity started to grow due to invention and development of Internet. Today everyone knows that internet is a global network system and we can hardly imagine our life without it.

Origin of Online Gambling

But how did it begin? Here are some interesting facts.

Late 1960s

First networks (aka ARPANET, Merit Network and CYCLADES) were developed

1982

the Internet Protocol Suite was standardized

Late 1980s

MCI Mail and Compuserve established connections to the Internet, delivering email and public access products to the 500,000 users

By the mid-1990s

the Internet was commercialized in the USA

1994

Antigua Barbuda passed “The Free Trade and Processing Zone Act”, allowing licenses to be granted to online operations that wanted to open casinos on the internet

1996

The first online casino opened its doors

By the end of 1996

15 online sites accepted wagers

1998

Migrogaming developed the first-ever progressive jackpot, Cash Splash.

2001

Australia passed the Interactive Gaming Act (IGA)

Revenues in industry grew from $2.2 billion in 2000 to $266 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, the rise in online gambling results in the growth of compulsive gamblers.  In 2002, 2003 the first restriction online gambling acts appeared. In 2006 the US passed The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that prohibits the transfer of funds from financial institutions to Internet gambling sites.

Gambling Today

Australians are the most gambling nation according to some research. 80% of adults spend their free time playing at land-based and different online casinos that accept Aussies. The popularity of virtual gambling has skyrocketed for the last years especially after the pandemic. Aussies bet more than $242 billion in 2017-18. In 2018 the Australian government raised AUD6.2 billion in revenue from gambling. Total recorded expenditure (losses) in Australia reached just over $24 billion in 2019-20, or an average of $1900 per adult who gambled.

Gambling Research Australia undertook the research to find out how online gambling had changed since 2014 and how gambling influenced on the country. The research was conducted by Central Queensland University. They gathered information during 2019 and 2020, and compared these responses with those gathered in 2010 and 2011.

Surveyed measures include

  • the impact of gambling marketing,
  • the use of self-exclusion tools,
  • the use of offshore gambling websites.

The research showed that the pervasiveness of gambling had decreased around Australia since 2010-2011.

In 2019, the estimated popularity of gambling in the country was about 57%. The study took into account the number of adults who wagered at online casinos at least once during the year preceding the survey. In 2010 – 2011, the estimated rate was 64%. The interesting fact is that the popularity decreased in spite of the appearance of new forms of gambling (e-sports, fantasy sports, skin gambling, and loot boxes) that were included in this study. But the popularity of online gambling increased from 8.1% in 2010 – 11 to 17.5% in 2019.

About 30.7% of gamblers were estimated to gamble online in 2019 compared to 12.6% in 2010 – 11.

Professor Nerilee Hing, CQ University’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, noted, “This growth in online gambling has been driven by faster internet speeds, the convenience of betting on phone apps, extensive advertising and inducements, and new betting options”.

An average online gambler is mostly male, younger, more educated and in a de facto relationship, has higher problem gambling scores, and gambles on more forms.

47% of interactive gamblers had used illegal offshore gambling sites in 2019, most commonly to play on instant scratch tickets (26.3%), casino games (15.7%), poker (15.0%), bingo (13.9%).

The report found that the percentage of gambling addicts, according to the PGSI test, increased from 0.6% to 1.23%.  The number of compulsive gamblers is higher among online casino players. About an estimated 4% of online gamblers met criteria for problem gambling, 9.4% were at moderate risk, and 16.8% were low risk gamblers. That means about one in three online gamblers had some symptoms of a gambling problem.

The game type most associated with gambling addiction were electronic gambling machines, or pokie machines. According to Charles Livingstone, Senior Lecturer, School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Monash University, pokies are “really good at getting people hooked: Each (bet) provides a dopamine release, similar to a drug like cocaine, in your brain. They target people who are often under stress, offer a euphoric sensation, then take all their money off them.”

Australian government tries to solve the problem of addiction. Earlier this year, Australian governmental bodies supported for a ban on credit card betting. They also imposed restrictions on advertising, for example, online casinos and sport betting adverts can neither appear during children’s programs nor target children; gambling ads can’t appear during certain hours. In September, Australia’s Association of National Advertisers reported a decrease in complaints submitted against gambling advertising.

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