A new State Government report surveying the gambling behaviours of more than 20,000 South Australians has found the number of people betting online has almost tripled in recent years.
The State Government today released its 2018 Gambling Prevalence Survey, which reports 13 per cent of South Australians gambled online in the past year – rising from five per cent since the last survey in 2012.
Betting on fantasy sports, sporting and novelty events were among the most popular online activities.
Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the new survey results provide valuable insight into the gambling behaviours of South Australians, and will help shape future gambling policy, program and services in our state.
“Overall in South Australia, I’m pleased to see that the number of people gambling has decreased since the last survey in 2012 (from 69 to 65 per cent), but the number of problem and at-risk gamblers has remained consistent,” said Minister Lensink.
“There is no surprise more South Australians are online gambling – in 2012, five per cent of South Australians had gambled online but the latest survey shows this number has almost tripled to 13 per cent.
“The increase in online gambling is concerning and reflective of a greater accessibility to the internet but is also an important sign that the State Government needs to continue to assist people gambling online through our help services.
“The survey data allows us to better target these services and inform our plans for raising awareness about gambling harm and reducing the stigma around seeking help.”
“The survey found that certain groups were more likely to be at-risk, including men, the unemployed, people who are single, divorced or separated and with a household income below $25,000 per year. People aged between 18 and 24 and Aboriginal people were also at greater risk.
“The survey also indicates levels of harm incurred by gamblers, and those around them who are adversely affected by gambling behaviours.
“This information shows us where we can best place our efforts for intervention and education activities that will complement existing multilingual resources, and continue to make problem gambling help resources more accessible to different cultural groups.
“A third of problem gamblers reported they had used a gambling help service in last 12 months, and we’re aiming to increase this figure amongst at-risk groups in future years.”
The Department of Human Services’ Office for Problem Gambling funds and manages a range of services across SA including:
• Funding to 28 gambling help services across all SA regions, offering a range of free general and financial counselling, intensive therapy and support to gamblers. Of the 28 services, 12 services are specific to Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse audiences.
• Funding the 24/7 gambling helpline in SA, which provides telephone and online support, information, counselling and referral to Gambling Help Services.
• Working directly with gambling venues to develop targeted in-venue harm minimisation materials.
The State Government has also moved to strengthen regulation of the gambling sector, by making Consumer and Business Services the sole regulator of gambling in South Australia.
Since CBS assumed responsibility for gambling regulation and policy in December 2018, the agency has implemented reforms aimed at better protecting those who are either experiencing, or are at risk of, gambling-related harm – including the introduction of ‘sameday’ barring orders. This means people can apply for, and receive, a barring order on the same day.
If your gambling is concerning you or others around you, confidential and free help is always available. Contact the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au
To view the 2018 Gambling Prevalence Survey, visit problemgambling.sa.gov.au