International Gambling Conference in Auckland to Look at Problem Gambling Issues

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Gambling industry experts are raising concerns about the widespread problem gambling ahead of a conference in Auckland.

International Gambling Conference is scheduled to take place in AUT University in Auckland. It will run for three days and will gather 200 industry experts from 12 countries. The theme of the conference is “gambling in a mobile era”, but one of the main points is problem gambling under Australian gambling laws and worldwide.

Concerns about problem gambling

One of the speakers scheduled to make an appearance at the International Gambling Conference is Professor Samantha Thomas coming from the University of Wollongong. She opined that wagering at land-based and online sportsbooks in Australia is quickly becoming a fashion.

If the spreading doesn’t stop this activity will soon replace alcohol as one of the most popular pastimes. What should concern the public the most is the fact that gambling is especially popular with young men.

Professor Thomas was quoted in Australian gambling news: “Before when you were the only guy that didn’t drink in the pub [you] were kind of the one that was left out – now if you’re the only guy that doesn’t gamble on the match, you’re left out.”

She went on to add: “Because it’s done through your mobile phone you have access to a gambling venue 24 hours a day, seven days a week; that can be particularly risky in terms of constantly betting on more and more events.”

Mobile betting has become particularly popular in Australia, and allows punters to access their favorite wagering spots at anytime and anywhere they are. Thus creating a risk of addiction. The only solution seems to be a close control of the amount of gambling advertising and age punters are allowed to start betting at.

New Zealand situation with betting

International Gambling Conference in Auckland to look at problem gambling

• Increase in number of young people betting at online sportsbooks in Australia is posing a threat

• Sportsbook operators are finding new innovative ways to market and advertise their services

• Stricter control on the part of gambling regulators is needed

New Zealand has a similar situation when it comes to betting on sports. According to Samantha Thomas, there have been reports of sportsbook representatives seen on the field at the NRL Auckland Nines. Although it’s not said what they were doing there, it’s still regarded as a not welcomed behavior on their part.

Such activity from the bookies’ representatives can only be interpreted as a desire to blur the lines between promotion of sports betting and sports itself. Their desire to make betting a crucial part of the whole sporting experience is understandable, but there have to be limits in order to prevent corruption of young minds.

Prof. Thomas went on to comment: “When we’ve researched that particular form of marketing, particularly with young people, they’re unable to distinguish that marketing as an ad; they see it as part of the game, and that’s part of the normalisation for children, so that when… they see this type of betting, they think of it as just a normal part of their fan experience, rather than a very adult product.”

Different approach in Australia

In Australia such practices on behalf of sportsbook companies are already banned by the regulations. New Zealand is behind their neighbors in this respect. However, operators are finding new innovative ways to attract those who wish to bet on sports in Australia.

Betting advertising and marketing becomes a difficult problem for gambling regulating bodies all over the world, not just Down Under. That is why a series of proposals have already been submitted before the Australian parliament with a view to limit gambling advertising and subsequently prevent the increase in problem gambling numbers.

More comments from the distinguished conference guest

Samantha Thomas went on to speak about the problem gambling and its connection to advertising of sports betting services. She said: “Generally when we think about marketing or advertising we think about the stuff in the commercial break, which is generally when we get up and go and make a cup of tea.”

She continued about sports betting in Australia: “What we’re now seeing in Australia is a saturation of lots and lots of different forms of marketing for sports betting. So for example, when we watch the cricket we don’t see a boundary rope anymore – we see a boarding for a betting company; we see pop-ups on screens, match replays that are sponsored by betting companies, but also shirt sponsorship.”

Prof. Thomas concluded with: “We did a study recently that showed that for those teams that have a sports betting logo on their shirts, you can see that logo over 300 times during the course of a match.”

It remains to be seen just how quick the gambling regulating body in Australia will react to the threat betting advertising is posing to young people. We will be monitoring the events at the International Gambling Conference in Auckland closely and report back to our readers in our daily news.

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