Problem gambling has doubled over the past decade along with the growth of online betting, despite the overall decline in popularity of the game.
The new research comes as in-game advisers warn of increased damage as NSW comes out of lockdown and poker machine lounges reopen, spring races can be enjoyed live and many sporting competitions resume.
The Gambling Research Australia study shows that gambling was played by almost two-thirds of adults in 2010/11, but that this figure fell to just over half in 2019. At the same time, the rate of gambling was Problem gambling has doubled in the adult population, from 0.6 percent to 1.23 percent.
Natalie Wright, Director of the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling, said: “What’s interesting is that overall gambling spending has continued to increase, so you have this small group of people spending more.”
Research shows that the increase in problem gambling has coincided with an increase in the proportion of online gambling, which rose from 8.1% to 17.5% nationally and from 7.8% at 17.8% in New South Wales.
Online gamers are more likely to be male, younger, more educated, and in a common-law relationship. Research also indicates that they are almost three times more likely than other gamblers to be problem gamblers and twice as likely to be at risk.
Ms Wright said there had been an increase in gambling after the 2020 lockdown, and she expected the same to happen this year.
“We know from the last lockdown when the land-based sites reopened, that there was a big increase in spending in the first month after the slots were locked – it was 19% higher in that first. month. [compared with the same month in 2019], then it came back to normal levels after a few months, ”Ms. Wright said.
“Our GambleAware services have a lot less calls during lockdown, then an increase when sites reopen, and anecdotally, these are mostly people who have slot issues… who need to ‘help during the reopening of sites. “