Instituting online gambling safeguards is the primary goal of new government funded study in Australia.
Online or on land, gambling is one of Australia’s most lucrative industries. Casinos, tracks and pokies operators generate billions in revenue every year. The government’s coffers are overflowing with its proceeds. Local organizations and athletic departments are largely funded by the proliferation of wagering in Australia.
Online gambling has been a heated topic over the last few years. All seem to agree that modern innovations are driving the industry in this direction, but not everyone is keen on the impact it has on punters. Unfortunately, there’s no clear agreement on exactly what that impact is.
Australia Online Gambling More Harmful?
According to some reports, online gambling is better, promoting a safer, less harmful environment. Others say the opposite is true, and that in Australia, online gambling produces 3x more harmful gambling than traditional land-based gaming.
Which reports you believe will probably determine which political party you support in such matters. Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Marlene Kairouz, Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, are of the latter opinion.
Study of ‘Harmful Online Gambling Behavior’
Tudge and Kairouz are spearheading a joint-funded research program that will cost taxpayers $300,000. According to a press release announcing the study on Friday, the goal of researchers at Central Queensland University will be to “identify harmful online gambling behavior”.
Researchers will analyze data from the wagering industry to develop a list of behaviours associated with online gambling. This criteria will help them create a predictive algorithm that will—in theory—detect players who exhibit harmful behavior.
Minister Tudge said this research into consumer protection, and its intended predictive algorithm, will be the first such study of online gambling ever conducted in Australia. If successful, Tudge said, “The predictive algorithm can be embedded into wagering operators’ websites to automatically detect customers at risk.”
The research project will be managed by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. Minister Kairouz was especially proud of this fact, lauding the reflection of Victoria as a leader in the prevention of harmful gambling across the country.
“Given the rapid growth in sports betting and online wagering, identifying betting patterns that indicate low and moderate risk of harm is critically important,” said Kairouz.
“We want to work with online gambling providers to develop a tool that allows the wagering provider to intervene and protect players at risk.”
Enhancing the National Consumer Protection Framework
Australia recently introduced eleven new measures, all dealing with Australia online gambling, as part of its National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF). Minister Tudge said the new study will further enhance the efforts of that framework.
One such measure deals with “improving industry staff training and capability to minimise harmful gambling behaviour by intervening earlier,” explained Tudge.
The “algorithms and indicators” the government hopes to retrieve from the research “will enable wagering staff to identify customers displaying signs of harm,” he continued. They will then be able to “activate a number of responsible gambling strategies, such as contacting a customer and encouraging them to seek help.”
The Australian government expects the requirements of the NCPF to be included in state and territorial licence agreements by the end of 2017.