Betting companies are required to provide financial statements to players, but a former bettor says it’s not enough

Betting companies will now be required to send clear statements of gambling winnings and losses to their customers after the federal rules are implemented this month.

With Australian gambling losses among the highest per capita in the world, the new monthly activity statements are intended to help gamblers make better decisions by providing a clear picture of their spending.

“For some people, they might look at it and say, ‘Well, that’s just too much – I find that confronting and I have to do something about it,'” said Lauren Levin, director of policy at Financial Counseling. Australia, at ABC Radio Perth.

“This could lead to calling [a gambling support group] or calling one of the financial advice services, or the national debt helpline, and saying, “I think I need to talk to someone about this.” “

The change was part of the recommendations of the 2018 National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Betting, which proposed 10 measures to tackle the growing social harms linked to online betting.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfarethe nation’s losses from legal gambling totaled $25 billion in 2018-19, with serious consequences for the finances, mental health and relationships of problem gamblers and their families.

A study by the Australian Government’s Behavioral Economics Team found that people who received activity records were more likely to reduce the amount of their bets, although this did not reduce the frequency of their bets.

A “symbolic” measure

Peter, whose full name has not been released for privacy reasons, is a former gambler who lost his career and marriage before finding help from Gamblers Anonymous.

An example of the activity records that players will now receive from betting companies.(Provided)

Peter is now providing support to others through Gamblers Anonymous and says the change is a “token” step that avoids taking more drastic and controversial steps that will have a greater effect.

“The single biggest impact we could have in Australia would be for governments to ban electronic gambling advertising, the same way they have alcohol and cigarettes,” said To fart.

“They banned the advertising of these because it was costing governments a fortune through the healthcare system, whereas gambling is a hidden epidemic where the costs are largely borne by the player, the families of the players, the players. player’s employer, the people they rob from.

Peter said he saw a “frightening” increase in members who were young men betting on sports via phone apps.

He said providing activity records could provide a “little advantage” to new players who hadn’t yet realized the extent of their spending.

“But for anyone who is an established player or has an established gambling problem, it won’t have any effect at all,” Peter said.

Players focus on winnings

Sally Gainsbury, a professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney, is director of the Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic.

His research in behavioral science and gambling helped inform the national consumer protection framework that recommended the new rules regarding activity declarations.

Professor Gainsbury said his research into behaviors associated with gambling showed that ‘human bias’ caused gamblers to focus on winning and forget how much it was really costing them.

She said the activity statements were a positive first step, but additional information was needed to highlight negative trends and encourage action.

This included, for example, showing a customer the percentage increase in their spending over a year, or alerting customers if their spending appeared to be at a risky level.

She said the method was already being used by utility providers, who sometimes provided information about energy usage, such as a “smiley face” for low usage.

“[It is] something that provides next information so customers can then flag the next step, [and] consider implementing a deposit limit,” Prof Gainsbury said.

“They just can’t tell”

Ms. Levin felt that financial statements could be beneficial for people she had helped who were struggling to keep track of their expenses.

“We start by saying, ‘Well, let’s look at your income, your expenses. With the game, how much? How much do you think you lost? “said Ms. Levin.

“And with online betting, they just can’t tell.”

She said that before the change, activity records were generally only provided upon request, and most companies provided a single-line list of transactions rather than a graph, table or figure “outcome. “.

Responsible Wagering Australia said it supported the provision of activity declarations and also ran an advertising campaign encouraging Australian gamblers to set deposit limits.

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