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A study by Southern Cross University in Australia has revealed that sportsbetting in the country is growing by a large amount, even though the number of citizens doing the betting has dropped.
The study indicates that only 64% of adults in Oz gambled within the last 12 months, which is actually much lower than the 82% that was recorded back in 1999.
While that number is down, the revenues generated by sportsbetting firms have jumped by 15% in just the last five years.
Speaking about the results to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the head of the study Dr. Sally Gainsbury indicated that online gambling is the preferred way of gambling for punters. "52% of people who gamble online actually prefer that mode, compared to land-based gamblers," Gainsbury told ABC. "It's that accessibility and convenience that's really driving them to use the mode. And some people actually prefer it and don't like the land-based venues, so we're seeing a new subset of Australians who are engaging in this gambling activity."
Gainsbury went on to speak about the demographics of online punters, saying "They tend to be younger, they're from a higher education, so they're more likely to have university degrees, they certainly have access to the internet at their work or at their home, and they might come from a higher socio-economic bracket."
While the news is good for betting companies, Gainsbury speculates that there may be an increased number of problem gamblers who choose to bet online. She also expressed concerns regarding social free play betting, which she says normalizes the act of online gambling for youths throughout the world.
Canadian Problem Gambling Specialist and McGill University Professor Jeffrey Derevensky concurs, noting that internet casino games are becoming very popular among young players throughout the world.
"We see it everywhere. We see pokie parlours, we go to clubs, we can see it in purchasing a lottery ticket," Derevensky said. "Because it's so easily accessible, parents and educators are not educating children about the warning signs of when something that starts off as fun can become problematic."
Those concerns also extend to large betting firms, which are purchasing social free play firms. "Big companies like Caesars International or IGT are buying these companies, not just because it's a fun type of game that children can learn, but also so that they can migrate over," Derevensky said.