Mobile gambling apps alert

Photo by Claire Walker.
With losses from sports betting an all-time high, public health campaigner Susan Rennie is urging families to recognise the dangers of mobile gambling apps. Claire Walker reports.

Public health campaigner Susan Rennie has urged families to recognise the dangers of mobile gambling apps.

Dr Rennie, a board member of The Alliance of Gambling group campaigned on the issue when she recently stood for election for the Darebin City Council, said that gambling advertising should have more restrictions.

“The disastrous effects gambling has will be prevented if people understand the harm of the product they are using,” Dr Rennie said.

Public health campaigner Susan Reenie
Public health campaigner Susan Rennie.

Advertising is causing younger people to underestimate the impact of gambling and becomes a normal part of watching sport.

While it is illegal in most states in America to gamble online, Australian gamblers are increasing with the convenience of betting through mobile phone apps in stead of walking up to the TAB.

Mobile phone betting made up 70 per cent of gambling over the recent AFL and NRL grand final weekend, according to Roy Morgan Research.

Losses from sports betting is at an all-time high with $630 million lost nationally.

These figures are set to increase as millennials are “interacting with their smartphone more than anything or anyone else” says a survey from one thousand 18 to 34 year-olds conducted by Bank of America.

Frequent gambler Peter Sojevic, 24, says he is more inclined to bet through an app as its faster and can be done at home with no hassle.

“I started to online bet due to advertising on both my television and my computer,” Sojevic said.

Researchers at La Trobe University found that between sponsorships, scoreboards and ad breaks, gambling ads come in just behind major sponsors.

Parents are horrified that their kids can recite betting odds according to Alliance For Gambling.

Gambling outlets, Sportsbet and bet365 offer apps to download on both android and Apple Iphones.

Many are downloading these apps to enjoy live betting and the ability to place a bet from anywhere.

This means gamblers won’t have access to from responsible gaming officers and chaplaincy workers which are provided at Crown Casino.

Betting online has no limit.

Credit card details are saved on the app so it is easy to end up in unexpected debt.

“The gambling and betting industry is one of the industries having the most success with transitioning to mobile,” says Julie Anderson, a writer for VegasMaster magazine.

Sports betting apps aren’t the only problem, with phone games such as angry birds, candy crush and Pokémon also considered a major problem.

C&R Research reports that sixty percent of “tweens” 10-14 and 84 percent of 15-18 year olds own a phone, making a massive market for apps

Games that aren’t traditional betting apps have in-app purchases, which for a few dollars let you have another chance to win in the game.

Parental should be concerned that children can make purchases to increase their chances of winning, racking up huge costs.

“Stricter regulations should come into place with advertising for gambling as it entices the audience to bet not only on sports but encourage children to play certain games that create addiction through certain features.”  Dr Rennie said.

Scobie and Rennie agree that although gambling is addictive and dangerous adults can make their own decisions.

This hasn’t stopped the US to make restrictions on who, what and how the public can bet.

The US has made it illegal for anyone to accept bets on sports online under federal law.

“We have to make it clear to the athletes, the fans and the public, gambling is not a part of sport, period,”  NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has said.

Restrictions on advertising for online gambling are also in all states of the US.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and The Sporting News were fined for advertising online gambling in America.

In Australia, under the original IGA (Internet Gambling Act) 2001, live “in-play” betting, which takes place from the start of an event until the finish, was only permitted if done over the phone. Online in-play betting was outlawed.

Major sports betting firms in Australia found a software to avoid this law by allowing phones to act as computers so they could place “in-play” bets without breaking the rules.

The laws surrounding “in- play” betting is set to be reviewed soon with further restrictions considered for Australia.