At just 21, Sue’s son had lost $100,000 to online gambling. His story is far from unique

“He’s going to pay us back, loans and bank loans for many years, when all those savings could be put towards a security deposit or a trip to travel and experience life.”

Sue hoped the investigation would spur lawmakers to implement gambling advertising bans and other preventative measures to steer young Australians, especially young men, away from betting.

“These gambling operators, they have behavioral psychologists involved in their marketing, and they set up venues and send their texts and things knowing what’s going to attract people,” she said. .

“I’m not saying we need a baby or spoon-feed them, [just] that maybe we just need to put a few more measures in place.

Rod* is a WA dad whose 20-year-old son Oli* took home $25,000 of his hard-earned savings in 11 months.

He said access to the many betting apps allowed his son’s addiction to thrive.

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“Once he lost about $5,000 he then got banned from the first gambling company and then the temptations came back and he signed up with another one. Then he got banned from that one, then he signed up with another one,” he said.

“When I was my son’s age, if I wanted to play, I had three options. I had to go to the TAB, I had to go to Tasmania at the Westpoint casino, or I had to drive four hours to New South Wales to play a poker machine.

“Now all you need is a smartphone.”

Access to different betting apps as a way around addiction barriers could be a thing of the past by the end of the year.

In July, the Australian Communications and Media Authority announced that it was introducing a nationwide self-ban registry of all betting apps known as BetStop, which would be advertised on all licensed Australian betting providers. .

The ACMA said BetStop would launch “within the next few months”.

Rod and Sue were two voters who shared their story with Independent MP for Curtin, Kate Chaney, who sits on the committee investigating gambling.

Chaney supported the survey’s focus on advertising.

“I guess what struck me was that it’s such a hidden issue because there’s so much shame around it, young people are happy to tell their friends about wins but not losses. “, she said.

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“Gambling advertising is everywhere it’s so normalized as part of watching sport for young people and then people just don’t talk about the negative part of it so I think the problem is much more important than we think.

“I think preventing it from being seen as a normal and expected part of participating in sport is a good step.”

Responsible Wagering Australia, the group representing some of Australia’s largest online gambling companies, has been contacted for comment.

The committee is inviting submissions for the inquiry and will report to parliament on its findings next year.

*Names have been changed to protect their anonymity.

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