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Analysis and Comment (56)

For some vulnerable gamblers, social casino games can trigger a desire to gamble for real money, while for others the games can act as a useful distraction. For some vulnerable gamblers, social casino games can trigger a desire to gamble for real money, while for others the games can act as a useful distraction. shutterstock

Social casino games can help – or harm – problem gamblers

Free-to-play social online games that simulate gambling are a hugely popular, and profitable, new phenomenon, but concerns have been raised about how innocent these games really are. Our recently published…
Recent changes to gambling regulation in Queensland will allow for a rapid expansion of the industry. Recent changes to gambling regulation in Queensland will allow for a rapid expansion of the industry. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Effective gambling regulation is not just ‘red tape’

The Queensland government has recently implemented changes to poker machine regulation under the banner of “red tape reduction”. Some of these are relatively minor at first glance; others have more obvious…
The proposed Aquis casino in Cairns is likely to be underwritten by the poker machine losses of local residents. The proposed Aquis casino in Cairns is likely to be underwritten by the poker machine losses of local residents. AAP/Aquis Great Barrier Reef

This time is different? The local costs of Cairns' new casino

The proposed Aquis casino resort in Cairns is edging ever closer to regulatory approval. The development is touted by proponents as a “man-made wonder of the world” and will cost billions to develop. The…
The introduction of a $1 maximum bet for poker machines, as has been proposed in Victoria, might not end problem gambling, but it would certainly reduce its harmful effects. The introduction of a $1 maximum bet for poker machines, as has been proposed in Victoria, might not end problem gambling, but it would certainly reduce its harmful effects. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

A $1 maximum bet on pokies would reduce gambling harm

The Greens have tabled a bill in the Victorian parliament that would introduce a maximum bet of $1 per spin for the state’s 30,000 poker machines. While the bill is almost certain to fail, the introduction…
Gambling products are only harmful when people consume too much of them. Gambling products are only harmful when people consume too much of them. Carol Von Canon

Responsible gambling: why occasional use is generally safe

Most people are aware of the harms of problem gambling. Playing pokie machines, placing bets and visiting casinos can be a very expensive form of entertainment. And when gamblers lose more than they can…
Research a better bet than an octopus oracle. Research a better bet than an octopus oracle. Roland Weihrauch/EPA

How to minimise losses when gambling on the World Cup

Given my academic background it may come as little surprise that when I gamble, I expect to lose in the long run. But, that is not to say that I don’t have some golden rules that I apply in gambling situations…
The long-held suspicion that high per capita expenditure in poker machine venues leads to high rates of problem gambling can now be confirmed by new research. The long-held suspicion that high per capita expenditure in poker machine venues leads to high rates of problem gambling can now be confirmed by new research. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Our most profitable gambling venues are the most harmful

The more money spent per capita on pokies in a venue, the higher the rate of gambling problems in that venue. This is the straightforward conclusion of our research recently published in the journal Addiction…
Let’s hope it’s fixed to that stand. Let’s hope it’s fixed to that stand. Adam Davy/PA

The World Cup is vulnerable to match fixing, but FIFA has cracked down

In the lead up to the World Cup, there has been speculation across the media that World Cup matches might be fixed, including reports from the UK’s National Crime Agency that a warm-up friendly between…
According to a new report, academic research into gambling is heavily biased, and controlled by industry and government. According to a new report, academic research into gambling is heavily biased, and controlled by industry and government. AAP/Paul Jeffers

He who pays the piper calls the tune: gambling with research

Earlier this month, a team of British anthropologists from Goldsmiths College of the University of London published a report about the mundane, if very lucrative, world of Big Gambling and the cadre of…
Bookies, in simpler times. Bookies, in simpler times. James Guppy

Betting terminals targeted by high street money launderers

The third season of Breaking Bad, the American TV drama series about a crystal meth dealer in Albuquerque, contains a key scene about the business side of an emerging crime empire. Here, the unscrupulous…
Black or red (or zero), the odds stay the same regardless of previous spins. Black or red (or zero), the odds stay the same regardless of previous spins. Mark Seton/Flickr (cropped)

Wizard of Odds or Even Steven? The science of gambling fallacies

Imagine yourself, a picture of sartorial elegance and sipping champagne from a crystal flute, in Le Grande Casino at Monte Carlo. It is a Monday night – in fact, the date is August 18, 1913 – and you are…
It is easy – and inaccurate – to suggest that Aboriginal gambling is just one more problem associated with remote Indigenous communities that needs to be fixed. It is easy – and inaccurate – to suggest that Aboriginal gambling is just one more problem associated with remote Indigenous communities that needs to be fixed. Martin Young

Aboriginal gambling: a question of addiction or resource redistribution?

“Aboriginal gambling” has become something of a hot-button issue in recent years. A number of academic research articles have documented the “risk factors” for Aboriginal people that increase their likelihood…
Very little is known about the impact of gambling in regional and remote places in Australia, such as Alice Springs. Very little is known about the impact of gambling in regional and remote places in Australia, such as Alice Springs. Bruce Doran

A big deal? The far-reaching impacts of a remote casino

Although Australia is often portrayed as a nation of gamblers, we still know relatively little about the extent to which gambling affects our society. One blind spot in our knowledge is the impact of gambling…
It’s hardly surprising the Coalition would baulk at costly regulation in the gambling industry. It’s hardly surprising the Coalition would baulk at costly regulation in the gambling industry. Flickr/Marionzetta

Coalition must pre-commit to addressing problem gambling

The future of Australia’s pokies pre-commitment scheme – which enables players to set a limit on how much they’re prepared to lose – is in doubt, with Labor likely to support the Coalition’s move to repeal…
Casino staff at the new Crown Sydney Hotel Resort in Barangaroo will be forced to breathe secondhand cigarette smoke. Casino staff at the new Crown Sydney Hotel Resort in Barangaroo will be forced to breathe secondhand cigarette smoke. Thomas Hawk

Barangaroo smoking exemption gambles with worker health

In November 2019, James Packer’s Crown Resorts VIP exclusive gambling and hotel complex will open at Barangaroo on the Sydney foreshore. In a disappointing development, the New South Wales government has…
Football’s popularity in Asia has fuelled illegal betting. Football’s popularity in Asia has fuelled illegal betting. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

FA is fixing football, but not how you might think

In the run up to the London Olympics, Jacques Rogge, then president of the International Olympic Committee, made a surprising statement. Doping, he said, was no longer the number one threat to the integrity…
Singapore’s Marina Bay is viewed as a role model for casino precincts. Singapore’s Marina Bay is viewed as a role model for casino precincts. Slack12/Flickr

Casino precincts and tourism: gambling our way to prosperity?

Last month Queensland Premier Campbell Newman called for expressions of interest to develop a major integrated resort casino precinct within the Brisbane CBD. The vision is for a new casino surrounded…
Gai Waterhouse wants everyday punters to ‘live the dream’. Gai Waterhouse wants everyday punters to ‘live the dream’. Marianna Massey/AAP

Gai Waterhouse’s ‘Living the Dream’ is gambling writ large

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be the part owner of a Melbourne Cup winner? Horse trainer Gai Waterhouse says you could be, by investing in a new company called “Gai Live the Dream” (GLD). The “live the dream…
Despite the known social harms of problem gambling, Australian state governments are allowing more casinos to be built and expanded. Despite the known social harms of problem gambling, Australian state governments are allowing more casinos to be built and expanded. AAP/Dan Peled

What are the odds new casinos lead to social harm?

A new wave of casino liberalisation is sweeping Australia. The Queensland state government has announced that it is seeking expressions of interest for a casino development in Brisbane, and that it is…
The Coalition’s policy to combat problem gambling is treatment focused, excludes potential online competitors and makes no funding commitment. What influenced its creation? The Coalition’s policy to combat problem gambling is treatment focused, excludes potential online competitors and makes no funding commitment. What influenced its creation? AAP/Dan Peled

Coalition ‘problem gambling’ policy: putting the fox in charge of the henhouse?

The Coalition has released its policy “to help problem gamblers” under that very title. If the betting markets are any guide, the Coalition is poised to win government on September 7, so the likelihood…
The psychiatrists' bible, the DSM-5, recently added ‘gambling disorder’ to its list of ‘behavioural addictions’. But how true is its definition, and should it be changed? The psychiatrists' bible, the DSM-5, recently added ‘gambling disorder’ to its list of ‘behavioural addictions’. But how true is its definition, and should it be changed? AAP/Mick Tsikas

Disordered gambling: focusing on more than just ‘problem gamblers’

Since the issue of problem gambling was placed under the national spotlight by the Productivity Commission in 1999, we have witnessed ongoing public debate about Australia’s gambling industries. The commission…
What are the odds? Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse has sold his online gambling business to UK giant William Hill for over $30 million. What are the odds? Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse has sold his online gambling business to UK giant William Hill for over $30 million. AAP/Dean Lewins

Tom Waterhouse takes the money: what now for gambling in Australia?

That bookmaker Tom Waterhouse has sold his eponymous company to British bookmaking powerhouse William Hill is no surprise. Waterhouse’s recent very public bid for recognition and market share was widely…
Recent problem gambling campaigns may implicitly advertise for the very product they are trying to warn consumers off. Recent problem gambling campaigns may implicitly advertise for the very product they are trying to warn consumers off. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Nathan Hindmarsh, insidious advertising and normalising problem gambling

The radio spot begins with ex-rugby league star Nathan Hindmarsh discussing his struggles with gambling: People might have thought, “Nathan Hindmarsh he’s got it made, he’s got everything”, but in reality…
Backlash over the seemingly omnipresence of bookmakers advertising during sport - such as Tom Waterhouse - prompted a government ban on ads in certain situations. Backlash over the seemingly omnipresence of bookmakers advertising during sport - such as Tom Waterhouse - prompted a government ban on ads in certain situations. AAP/Paul Miller

Live sports odds ban: does the government’s plan go far enough?

What are the odds? In the face of public pressure, prime minister Julia Gillard has given bookmakers an ultimatum regarding sporting events. If the bookies do not agree to a ban on gambling promotion during…
Children are vulnerable consumers and aren’t capable of making rational, informed choices. Children are vulnerable consumers and aren’t capable of making rational, informed choices. AAP/Dan Peled

Not just ‘a bit of fun’: why sports, gambling and kids are a bad mix

Have your children watched a footy match recently? Well, if they watched AFL on TV they also consumed about 50.5 separate episodes of sports betting marketing, from TV and stadium ads, to footy jumpers…
The role played in ‘normalising’ gambling in sport and society by the likes of online bookmaker Tom Waterhouse was examined by the ABC’s Four Corners program. The role played in ‘normalising’ gambling in sport and society by the likes of online bookmaker Tom Waterhouse was examined by the ABC’s Four Corners program. AAP/Paul Miller

Born to bet? Four Corners on the Tom Waterhouse media effect

Last night, ABC’s Four Corners investigated Tom Waterhouse’s heavily marketed entrance to the online Australian sports wagering industry. Along the way it showed the ways in which the gambling industry…
Gai Waterhouse and John Singleton in happier times: their acrimonious split and subsequent stewards' inquiry has typified the culture of Sydney. Gai Waterhouse and John Singleton in happier times: their acrimonious split and subsequent stewards' inquiry has typified the culture of Sydney. AAP/Paul Miller

A trainer, a bookie and a ‘drunk’: the Waterhouse saga simply screams Sydney

The Gai Waterhouse-John Singleton horse racing imbroglio has the feel of fiction. Its cast of characters could easily spring from the treatment for a new Underbelly series or the pages of a Peter Corris…
Is online gaming the next billion-dollar industry? The state of New Jersey is betting on it. Is online gaming the next billion-dollar industry? The state of New Jersey is betting on it. www.shutterstock.com

Casinos are big winners as US states make a play for the online market

In the recent Hollywood science-fiction epic, Cloud Atlas, based on David Mitchell’s sprawling novel, the capitalist dystopia of Neo Seoul in 2144 is depicted as part of a world state called Unanimity…
Gambling tax reform should be a part of a gambling harm minimisation tax package. Gambling tax reform should be a part of a gambling harm minimisation tax package.

Why tax reform can help reduce problem gambling

Gambling provides Australian state governments with an average of 7.3% of their own taxes, about $5147 million, according to ABS data for 2010-11. Victoria (10.8%) and New South Wales (8.6%) earn above…
In sports-loving Australia, damaging its integrity ultimately undermines supporter confidence and enjoyment. In sports-loving Australia, damaging its integrity ultimately undermines supporter confidence and enjoyment. AAP/Rob Cox

Doping, gambling and sport: integrity begins at home

The Australian Crime Commission’s report on organised crime and drugs in sport has unleashed a storm amongst sports fans, particularly those who follow the clubs or codes so far implicated. Use of new…
Evidence shows most people did not gamble away their carbon tax compensation, despite media claims at the time. Evidence shows most people did not gamble away their carbon tax compensation, despite media claims at the time. AAP

We got fed a line but carbon tax compo wasn’t ‘swallowed’ by pokies

Like many policy issues in Australia, the public debate and media coverage on the relationship between government payments and spending at electronic gaming machines or ‘pokies’ is sensationalist and exaggerated…
Casinos have the capacity to drive economic benefits - but must avoid becoming an enclave with little connection to the surrounding city. Casinos have the capacity to drive economic benefits - but must avoid becoming an enclave with little connection to the surrounding city. AAP

Will a casino be a boon or a bane for Barangaroo?

Barangaroo, on Sydney’s harbour, is no ordinary development. It has been promised that the 22-hectares of former industrial land sitting on the western edge of the CBD will transform Sydney both culturally…
The government’s reforms to gambling this week, including to the pokie machines seen here, have been described as “watered-down”. The government’s reforms to gambling this week, including to the pokie machines seen here, have been described as “watered-down”. AAP/Paul Jeffers

Gambling research centre: more research or more delay?

In an agreement announced on Wednesday, the Greens indicated support for the Australian government’s legislation (described almost ubiquitously in the press as “watered-down”) on poker machine pre-commitment…
Gambling companies sponsor and advertise at grass roots sporting clubs throughout Australia. Gambling companies sponsor and advertise at grass roots sporting clubs throughout Australia. MRHSfan

Betting on the future: why the gambling industry is targeting our kids

I really enjoyed sitting down with my kids and watching the Olympic Games. In the process of watching amazing sporting triumphs we also learnt multiple ways to gamble, all at the tap of a finger. During…
Provocative artworks, such as Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca, have drawn a steady stream of tourists to multi-billionaire David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart. Provocative artworks, such as Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca, have drawn a steady stream of tourists to multi-billionaire David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart. AAP

Sex, death and taxes: how should the tax system treat MONA founder David Walsh?

It was March last year when I sat down in the chaotic New York office of a leading international tax attorney to conduct an interview for a book I was writing on the campaign against tax havens. But rather…
With £50m likely to be bet on the Olympics, there are plenty of opportunities for trouble. With £50m likely to be bet on the Olympics, there are plenty of opportunities for trouble. fictures/Flickr

Illegal betting: the next big Olympics security issue?

London 2012 will be the first Olympic Games with very public betting opportunities for all events. One estimate for bets to be wagered in the United Kingdom during the Games is £50m. Work has been underway…
The fact a pleasurable behaviour is done to excess does not necessarily mean it’s an addiction. The fact a pleasurable behaviour is done to excess does not necessarily mean it’s an addiction. PhotoCatcher

Videogame addiction – fact or fantasy?

I am a Warcraft widow, an affectionate term given to those who have “lost” a partner to World of Warcraft (WoW) as a result of excessive game-playing. I have first-hand experience of the way games such…
A successful gamble on climate will require more than a lucky guess. A successful gamble on climate will require more than a lucky guess. kfergos/Flickr

If you want to roll the climate dice, you should know the odds

Imagine a six-sided die with four red faces, one green face and one blue face. I am going to roll the die, and before rolling I will ask you to predict which colour it will land on: red, green or blue…
Mick Malthouse and his wife celebrate after Collingwood won the 2010 AFL grand final. Mick Malthouse and his wife celebrate after Collingwood won the 2010 AFL grand final. AAP/David Croslingv

In Conversation: Mick Malthouse

Michael “Mick” Malthouse is one of the most important figures in the history of Australian football. A premiership player for Richmond in 1980 he subsequently coached the then Footscray Bulldogs to a number…
“Fairfax looks very exciting,”: mining magnate Clive Palmer expresses an interest in media. “Fairfax looks very exciting,”: mining magnate Clive Palmer expresses an interest in media. AAP

When the powerful buy into the media, can the media still scrutinise the powerful?

The mining industry is used to having its voice heard in Australian public debates, so it should come as no surprise that mining billionaires such as Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer would consider buying…
Apart from minor changes, action has been delayed until 2017. Apart from minor changes, action has been delayed until 2017. OctopusHat

Pokies reforms explained: how good intentions were derailed

Tension around pokies reform came to a head on Saturday when Prime Minister Julia Gillard broke her agreement with independent Tasmanian MHR Andrew Wilkie to implement timely reforms to address problem…
Andrew Wilkie has withdrawn his support for the Gillard government. Andrew Wilkie has withdrawn his support for the Gillard government. AAP/David Beniuk

Gillard bets the house while Wilkie walks over pokie reform

The Gillard government finds itself in the same position it held at the start of 2011. The withdrawal of support from independent Andrew Wilkie means that, like this time last year, the government holds…
Andrew Wilkie must decide whether to walk away from the Gillard government. Andrew Wilkie must decide whether to walk away from the Gillard government. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Gillard’s pokie rethink shows weakness while Wilkie wavers

As speculation about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s commitment to gambling reform grows, Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie is weighing up the pros and cons of a compromise deal with the government. Wilkie…
GPs have a greater role to play in screening and treating problem gambling. GPs have a greater role to play in screening and treating problem gambling. AAP

Gambling reform involves more than just popping a pill

The Greens yesterday released the party’s problem gambling discussion paper. The paper advocates, among other things, for general practitioners to play a greater role in screening and treating problem…
The Coalition’s gambling paper proposes voluntary pre-commitment but misrepresents the evidence. The Coalition’s gambling paper proposes voluntary pre-commitment but misrepresents the evidence.

How about a pre-commitment to truth in the pokies debate?

The Coalition last week released its Policy Discussion Paper on Gambling Reform, rejecting the government’s mandatory pre-commitment scheme on poker machines as a measure to reduce problem gambling. Topping…
Former rugby league player and convicted match-fixer, Ryan Tandy will likely not play the game again, but who’s really to blame? Former rugby league player and convicted match-fixer, Ryan Tandy will likely not play the game again, but who’s really to blame? AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Business or pleasure? Ryan Tandy and the NRL take the fun out of rugby league

I’m a relatively well-disciplined guy. In my brief time in this world, I’ve managed to complete a degree, quit smoking, and exercise thirty-odd kilos of self-indulgence away. But if there’s a TV on in…
AFL and NRL clubs say they face financial losses if punters like this are forced into a pre-commitment scheme. AFL and NRL clubs say they face financial losses if punters like this are forced into a pre-commitment scheme. AAP

Playing the game: AFL, NRL and the campaign against the Wilkie pokie reforms

The Federal Government’s plan to introduce pre-commitment systems on pokie machines in order to reduce problem gambling has become a major political headache. A campaign by Clubs Australia targeting Labor…
Could “antiusability” be incorporated into gaming machines? Could “antiusability” be incorporated into gaming machines? awwstin

Want to curb problem gambling? Make pokies harder to play

GAMBLING IN AUSTRALIA – Addiction to gaming machines (or “pokies”) is of growing concern in Australian society. In Victoria alone there are 30,000 of these hi-tech poker machines with many in suburban…
Taxpayers were shortchanged $3billion in Victoria’s ill-fated auction of licences last year. Taxpayers were shortchanged $3billion in Victoria’s ill-fated auction of licences last year. AAP

Pokies punters and taxpayers both lose when govts and industry get too cosy

GAMBLING IN AUSTRALIA – How do pokies cause harm? People addicted to the pokies lose one hell of a lot of money. Because they lose one hell of a lot of money they do not eat well, get into debt, lose their…
When you know the numbers, things get a whole lot easier. When you know the numbers, things get a whole lot easier. Roberto Bouza

Want to win at gambling? Use your head

GAMBLING IN AUSTRALIA – Some say “punting is a mug’s game”. But is this always true, or can an astute gambler make long-term profits? Certainly not from casino games. Casinos make profits by paying less…
Sadly, there’s no magic button to stop excessive gambling. Sadly, there’s no magic button to stop excessive gambling. Mick Tsikas/AAPimage

Get rich or die trying: when gambling becomes a problem

GAMBLING IN AUSTRALIA – Why do some people develop gambling addictions while others can dabble for years at the pokies or the track without issue? The Productivity Commission’s 2010 report on gambling…
Betting can be fun, but it’s not worth losing your shirt over. Betting can be fun, but it’s not worth losing your shirt over. William West/AFP

Gambling in Australian culture: more than just a day at the races

GAMBLING IN AUSTRALIA – The idea that Australians love to gamble is so firmly established that we rarely pause to question it. This is true whether we picture Chinese and British “diggers” passing time…
Gambling harms extend beyond those with the gambling problem, the signatories to the letter argue. Gambling harms extend beyond those with the gambling problem, the signatories to the letter argue. AAP

Public health experts support pokies reforms

A number of public health experts have written a letter to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Parlimentarians in support of the mandatory pre-commitment system for poker machines. The signatories…
Karl Bitar should be open about his contacts with government in his new role. Karl Bitar should be open about his contacts with government in his new role. AAP/Danny Rose

Fair game? Why Karl Bitar lobbying for Crown is undemocratic

The former National Secretary of the Australian Labor Party, Karl Bitar, has been appointed Head of Government Affairs for Crown Ltd, operators of Melbourne’s Crown Casino and Perth’s Burswood. It’s a…
People without basic financial services may approach loan sharks when emergency strikes. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciscel. People without basic financial services may approach loan sharks when emergency strikes. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciscel.

Cut off from banks, 15% of Australians vulnerable to loan sharks

Around 15.6% of Australian adults have limited or no access to basic financial services like a transaction account, a credit card or insurance, putting them at risk of predatory lending, a new study has…

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