Australian Academics Critical of Government Gambling Rules

Published Tuesday, May 04, 2010 -

In parts of the free world gambling has been a mainstay for some country's economies. Gambling has been a big part of Monaco's economy. Places like Las Vegas would not exist if it were not for the billions of dollars the public puts on the line. Online gambling is doing the same thing for some smaller jurisdictions such as Antigua, Costa Rica, and Malta.

Critics of online gambling say that the governments of various countries are addicted to the revenues produced by online gambling with individual states in Australia being told by problem gambling researchers that they are too dependent on gambling revenues and are not doing enough to help identify and assist problem gamblers. Academics Linda Hancock and Michael O'Neil appear to have the support of anti-gambling campaigner Senator Nick Xenophon in their suggestion that individual states and territories have failed to curtail problem gambling, because they rely on the industry for revenue. They have issued a call for a national gambling regulator to take the place of state regulators in order to get a national handle on gambling activities throughout Australia. The report does not specifically mention the online gambling industry but it is suggested that online gambling operators are not welcome either by these critics of the existing system.

The research produced by Hancock and O’Neil shows that the gambling population of Australia lost A$18 billion a year. They concluded that 15 percent of Australians gambled regularly, not including the lottery or scratch cards and it is assumed that online casinos and poker room losses where also excluded. Ten percent of those gamblers, a number considered a bit high comparing it to other surveys were 'problem' gamblers the academics said. Hancock, an associate professor at Deakin University says an estimated 125,000 have serious problems and 165,000 are considered to be at moderate risk claiming that problem gambling is a serious health risk.

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