top of page

Welcome to our
October
NEWSLETTER

Check out all our latest updates

10/2023

Carol_Bennett_003.jpeg

Carol Bennett

Chief Executive Officer

Message from the CEO

Gambling Harm Awareness Week in October provided a good opportunity to celebrate progress being made around the country on gambling reform, while pushing for further reform addressing the escalating national losses and other gambling harms. 

 

And with poker machine losses at $14.5b across five states - 13.7% higher than the last full pre-covid year 2018-19, Australians are coming in first as the world biggest gambling losers by a mile. It all seems at odds with the current cost of living crisis, but in another way makes sense that when people are feeling pressure they might be seeking out a quick win or a way to escape the daily reality.  Either way, as the tagline says ‘chances are you are about to lose’ and these losses translate into significant and growing harm across our communities.   

 

This is confirmed by research from Angela Rintoul highlighting the link between suicide and gambling released last month. 

 

Compelling new research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies Australian Gambling Research Centre National Gambling Trends Study has also confirmed that regular gamblers aged between 18 and 34 years old are at the greatest risk of gambling harm.  

 

A new Alliance Position Paper, ‘Australian Superannuation Fund Investments in Gambling’, reveals that the ten biggest funds all hold at least one major gambling shareholding in their portfolio. This is particularly disappointing when you consider that some super funds claim that they are investing member funds ethically!   

 

On the national front, we have seen some promised reforms legislated including a ban on credit, the new Betstop self-exclusion scheme and changes to gaming products with gambling like features. While the Alliance would like to see legislation in all these areas go further, this certainly signals a positive change. 

 

And with technology and expansion of gambling occurring at a rapid pace, the Alliance has joined with CHOICE and over 20 other groups to underscore the critical need for comprehensive and robust privacy reforms.   

 

There has been a flurry of policy activity across states and federally and the Alliance has been hard at work providing submissions and meeting with key politicians to ensure that reforms do achieve their objectives to reduce harm. Our leadership councils are more active than ever before in working to do this in their communities with harm prevention policies and forums being rolled out at pace. These are all good signs on the road towards an Australia free from gambling harm! 

Join us to end gambling harm by making a regular donation of just $10 a month to support our End Gambling Ads Campaign

Donate

This Gambling Harm Awareness Week we are asking supporters to help us respond to the soon to be released government response to the federal inquiry into online gambling and its impacts on those experiencing harm.

 

It is critical we continue to grow our campaign to ensure all 31 recommendations are implemented by the government! You can donate here: https://www.agr.org.au/donate

If you wish to make a donation via bank transfer

Alliance For Gambling Reform Inc

Please contact info@agr.org.au for bank details.

Superannuation funds
investing billions in gambling stocks 

Disclosure regime ‘patently inadequate’ to hold funds accountable 

 
One major Australian industry super fund - which boasts one million members and which promotes itself as a responsible investor - holds more than $351 million in gambling-relating equities, according to new analysis by the Alliance for Gambling Reform.  
 
You can read the Media Release here 
Read our position paper 
Read the breaking news article from the Sydney Morning Herald 
 
Find out more about HESTA's investments here

Alex consumer HESTA super.webp

Alex is a consumer, who is outraged at HESTA's investments. (Image credit to Joe Armao, The Age/ Sydney Morning Herald)

Superannuation

Poker machine losses surge to a staggering all-time high of $14.5 billion

Figures collated for the Alliance by the Monash University Gambling and Social Determinants Unit at the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine show that the $14.5b in losses across five states was 13.7% higher than 2018-19, the last full financial year not to be impacted by COVID restrictions.
 

The states that experienced the biggest spikes in losses were South Australia (up 34.6%), Queensland (up 33.6%) and New South Wales (up 23.7%). Victoria had an increase in losses of 12%.

 
Find out more here.

QLD loses over $5 billion dollars to gambling.

In 2022-2023, gambling losses in Queensland were greater than $5 billion across the state, increasing by over half a billion dollars from the previous financial year!

"These are extraordinary figures at a time when we know that people are doing it tough” said Alliance CEO Carol Bennett.

The majority of these losses occurred through poker machines (63.2%), followed by the casino, lotteries, and online gambling.

You can find out more here.

PMLost
QLD Loses

Promising reform in video games with gambling features welcomed

From September 2024 video games with simulated gambling such as social casinos will be legally restricted to adults only with a classification of R18+, however video games with loot boxes will be given a minimum classification of M15+. The Alliance believes while this is a good step, games with loot boxes should be given an R18+ rating due to the harmful impact they are having on young people.

 

Read our submission on the proposal here.

 

To read the Federal Government’s media release click here.

thumbnail_Almost half Australian children.png

Alarming new research into gambling harm from the Australian Institute of Family Studies 

On the 26th of October the Australian Institute of Family Studies Australian Gambling Research Centre published findings as part of their National Gambling Trends Study.

The study highlighted that regular gamblers aged between 18 and 34 years old are at the greatest risk of harm. These gamblers gamble an average of $1,453 a month across all forms of gambling. Young people who regularly gamble on poker machines were most likely to meet the criteria of ‘at-risk’ gambling with 89% sitting in this category.

This report stresses the need for reforms across all forms of gambling, especially poker machines and online gambling to improve the wellbeing of Australians.

You can read the media release and reports here.

387770478_698988162253891_7555162255563750706_n.jpg


------------------------------------------
In other research, the convergence of tech, games, social media & gambling is leading to a hidden but alarming rise in gambling harm among Aussie kids.

Dr Tahmed’s research highlights how many kids don't identify their actions as gambling, viewing it as extended gaming -  a highly concerning idea.

You can find out more here.

Latest research shows devastating link between gambling harm and suicide

Warning: This article may be distressing to some readers.

 

New research shows alarming links between gambling and suicide. "We have always known there was a strong link between gambling and suicide," says Alliance CEO Carol Bennett.

 

Read our media release here.

Read the report here.

This research, and its impacts are put together here in Joseph Friedman’s article, published by The Law Society of NSW.

Over 20 advocates and researchers call for urgent privacy reform - stronger laws will protect people from data breaches and misuse

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has joined with CHOICE and over 20 other groups to underscore the critical need for comprehensive and robust privacy reforms. An open letter from the group emphasised the importance of safeguarding individuals' personal information in an increasingly digital and data-driven world.

 

Alliance CEO, Carol Bennett said lax privacy laws have allowed the gambling industry to commercialise people's information, especially children and those who struggle with gambling addiction.

 

Read full story and letter here.

Record fines for Tabcorp, plus more news from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission

We commend the VGCCC's decision to impose a $1 million fine on Tabcorp for their non-compliance with the Commission's directions.


This demonstrates the necessity for transparency and cooperation in the gambling industry, ensuring the protection of consumers and integrity of systems.
 

You can find out more here.

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt talked to ABC Radio’s Virginia Trioli asking why venues would bother to intervene to prevent gambling harm when it goes against their commercial interests. Listen here (Link 1)


This month, the VGCCC also charged the Tower Hotel operator for failing to have YourPlay available.
 
“Any venue operator that fails to provide players with the ability to set time and spend limits through the YourPlay system is in breach of a key legal obligation aimed at protecting the community from gambling harm" said VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt.

 

Image by rupixen.com

Ban on gambling with credit welcomed 

In October, the Federal Government announced legislation that will ban the use of credit cards for most types of gambling in Australia.

We welcome this development, as it will certainly make a strong impact towards gambling harm reduction.

We are disappointed however, that the government chose to ignore a plea to exempt lotteries and Keno.

Read more>>>

Video Games
Self-Exclusion
Tabcorp
Over20
Suicide
Alarming
Credit

Gambling Harm Awareness Week 2023:   
Let’s bring home gambling reforms!

On 16 October 2023, the Alliance for Gambling Reform hosted the webinar, "Let’s bring home gambling reforms”.


CEO Carol Bennett facilitated this inspirational event featuring a panel of fantastic guest speakers advocating for gambling reforms.

 

Thank you to:

 

Kate Chaney MP, Independent MP for Curtin, and member of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into Online Gambling and its Impact on Those Experiencing Harm.

 

Senator David Pocock, Independent Senator for ACT, known for his dedication to driving legislative change.

 

John, who has lived experience of gambling harm, reminding us of the real-life consequences that fuel our commitment to reform.

 

And of course our Chief Advocate Tim Costello, a leading voice in the fight against gambling harm.

 

For those who missed the discussion, catch up here.

If you wish to keep supporting our work, please keep up the pressure and help push for all recommendations from the Federal Inquiry into Online Gambling to be acted upon.

Reach out to your Federal MPs here

GHAW

Policy and Submissions   

The Alliance published our responses to several state and federal inquiries and consultations:

Councils and Supporters

Councils all across Victoria joined the Alliance for Gambling Reform to recognise Gambling Harm Awareness Week from 17 October. It was so wonderful to hear from the VGCCC on their new direction, and how Councils and communities can play a part in reducing gambling harm.

 

Leadership Councils also joined us for a workshop on improving local government sector opportunities to work with the VGCCC. 

 

Mornington Peninsula Shire and Frankston Council teamed up for a discussion called Talk. Share. Support. A community conversation about gambling harm. Community members came together to hear from our Chief Advocate, Tim Costello, local sporting clubs and people with lived experience of gambling and to discuss how the community can support reducing harm from gambling. Great team work councils!

393425191_702551735230867_2797757867598669134_n (1).jpg

Community members came together to hear from our Chief Advocate, Rev Tim Costello, local sporting clubs and people with lived experience of gambling.

Hume City Council packed out the Hume Global Learning Centre in Craigieburn on 2 October for an unmissable symposium on gambling harm. There were Councillors and officers from numerous councils, politicians, the VGCCC, VRGF, gambling harm advocates, researchers and community stakeholders in the room as we heard perspectives from a number of expert guest speakers and listened to the stories from those with lived experience of gambling harm. Both council officers and Hume councillors should be applauded for their dedication to reducing gambling harm. Special thanks to Mayor Joseph Haweil who facilitated the event and whose dedication and passion is instrumental in keeping advocacy at the forefront of Hume Councils priorities.

 

Read more about the event: Hume City in gambling harm conversation ahead of major state reform - Hume City Council


It’s also fantastic to see that another Leadership Council, Hobsons Bay - have adopted a new policy to tackle gambling harm in their community. Gambling Harm Prevention Policy.

 

Braybrook Hotel in the City of Maribyrnong have applied to the VGCCC to extend their closing hours from 1am to 3am. Both Maribyrnong and Brimbank Councils are taking a strong stand against the application. Read more: Odds stacked against hotel | Maribyrnong & Hobsons Bay

 

Councils: If you’d like to share what you have been working on to prevent gambling harm in your community, please send copy to Rebecca.paterson@agr.org.au

Share your
Voice

We invite you to share your personal experiences of gambling harm in Australia. Whether you've faced this challenge yourself or witnessed the struggles of someone close to you, your story has the power to inspire change and improve awareness.

 

We know that all communities are impacted by gambling, but the true impact is often hidden. Real stories from real people who’ve experienced gambling harm are a powerful vehicle for influencing social change. Your lived experience offers valuable insight into the consequences of gambling for our whole community. Your story will help us to advocate for change that benefits everyone.

 

You can remain anonymous if you prefer. Nothing will be shared or published without your consent.

 

Please write your story to us via Facebook or email us at info@agr.org.au

Media Releases

Opinion Pieces

Screenshot 2023-02-06 171841.png

Can we really trust clubs to help gamblers?

The Canberra Times

Martin Thomas

20 June 2024

The ACT is among the most advanced in the country in pushing towards a mandatory, cashless gambling card.

Evidence shows such a card with pre-set and binding limits will be the best weapon we have in effectively curbing gambling harm.

And according to the NSW Crime Commission it will not only limit gambling harm but it will also tackle the billions of dollars from the proceeds of crime that is fed into poker machines across the country every year.

Screenshot 2023-02-06 171841.png

Gambling industry now targeting and grooming children

The Canberra Times

Martin Thomas

13 June 2024

Our kids are being deliberately targeted and groomed by the gambling industry.

A new pilot study released by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education last week revealed children as young as 14 were being targeted by social media ads urging them to download gambling apps on their phones.

Screenshot 2023-02-06 171841.png

Gender-based violence, gambling and the hypocrisy of the AFL

The Canberra Times

By Tim Costello - Chief Advocate - Alliance for Gambling Reform

10 May 2024

Amid the national spotlight that has finally shone on Australia’s domestic violence crisis, the AFL decided that in all their games last weekend they would highlight the issue with a minute’s silence before play.

While it was poignant to see young men standing in solidarity with women against violence, for the AFL itself the move was hypocritical.

The AFL reaps multiple millions of dollars from gambling sponsorship and advertising – the losses from gambling are a substantial factor fuelling domestic violence – so without greater action against gambling the league is simply ‘virtue signalling’.

In The News

Labor urged to outlaw betting ‘rewards’ luring Australians into gambling

Labor urged to outlaw betting ‘rewards’ luring Australians into gambling

The Guardian

9 July 2024

The Alliance for Gambling Reform blamed weak advertising and consumer protection laws for the promotions it says are carefully designed to make customers believe they are placing “safer” bets and that a win is more likely.

Queensland LNP promises to increase pokies cap for clubs with more than two premises

Queensland LNP promises to increase pokies cap for clubs with more than two premises

ABC News

2 July 2024

n the 2022-23 financial year, Queenslanders lost more than more than $5 billion to gambling — of which about $3.2 billion was lost through poker machines.

Alliance for Gambling Reform interim chief executive Martin Thomas said his organisation was opposed to the proposal to increase the cap on gaming machines at clubs with multiple sites.

A third of Australian bets found to be placed by problem gamblers amid warning of ‘predatory’ industry

A third of Australian bets found to be placed by problem gamblers amid warning of ‘predatory’ industry

The Guardian

25 June 2024

The polling implied 3.26 million Australians had made a sports wager in the year to March – more than double the 7% found to have bet between April 2019 and March 2020.

The results were released on Tuesday by the Alliance for Gambling Reform to mark the first anniversary of a major parliamentary report calling for a ban on online gambling ads and making other recommendations.

‘Wasted opportunity’: No recommendation on cashless gaming in ACT inquiry report

‘Wasted opportunity’: No recommendation on cashless gaming in ACT inquiry report

RiotACT

3 July 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief advocate Tim Costello said there is no need for a trial.

“The evidence is overwhelming that cashless gaming works,” Reverend Costello said.

“The 1999 Productivity Commission report recommended the introduction of mandatory cashless cards.

“Canberra always boasts about how progressive it is, but it’s still dragging its feet for 25 years on cashless gaming.

“ACT and NSW Labor have $120 million of assets in pokies clubs. It’s the most obvious and horrible conflict.”

A third of Australian bets found to be placed by problem gamblers amid warning of ‘predatory’ industry

A third of Australian bets found to be placed by problem gamblers amid warning of ‘predatory’ industry

The Guardian

27 June 2024

Roy Morgan polling of 16,000 Australians found 15.5% had bet on sport in the 12 months to March. It also revealed problem gamblers made up almost 20% of some sports betting companies’ customer base. The results were released on Tuesday by the Alliance for Gambling Reform to mark the first anniversary of a major parliamentary report calling for a ban on online gambling ads and making other recommendations. The group’s Interim CEO, Martin Thomas said: “These are huge numbers and they highlight how a predatory online gambling industry is ensnaring a whole new generation into gambling.

1 In 3 Bets Placed by Aussies Last Year Were Made By Problem Gamblers, Grim New Data Shows

1 In 3 Bets Placed by Aussies Last Year Were Made By Problem Gamblers, Grim New Data Shows

Pedestrian TV

25 June 2024

The findings were released by Alliance for Gambling Reform and come on the one-year anniversary of a parliamentary report which called for stronger regulations around online gambling advertising, among other recommendations. Martin Thomas, the Interim CEO of Alliance for Gambling Reform, described the numbers in the research as “huge”, saying they highlight a “predatory online gambling industry” that is “ensnaring a whole new generation into gambling.” Thomas pointed to the “inescapable torrent” gambling ads as having a “normalising” effect on betting, and said advertising is “grooming children and young people to gamble”.

Keep up to date with the latest news in Gambling Reform, and be part of the Conversation on Facebook|Twitter| LinkedIn

Need to update your subscription details?

You are receiving this newsletter because you have previously subscribed to our newsletter and updates, signed a petition, or supported our actions. If you received this in error, or do not wish to receive any further correspondence from us, you can unsubscribe below, or email ‘unsubscribe’ to info@agr.org.au

PS
CS
Media
bottom of page