Canberra, March 27 (IANS) Two in five Australian adults, or almost 40 per cent, gamble every week, a government report published on Monday revealed.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), an agency within the Department of Social Service, published a survey of 1,765 people on gambling participation and community harm, reports Xinhua news agency.
It found that 38 per cent of the adult population gambled at least weekly while three-quarters gambled at least once in the last 12 months.
Almost half of the people who gambled in the last 12 months were classified as being at risk of harm from wagering.
Despite the high rate of participation in gambling, the survey revealed that more than half the population supports a blanket ban on wagering advertising across all platforms.
One-third of people increased their betting after exposure to gambling advertising, with those aged 18-34 most susceptible.
Rebecca Jenkinson, executive manager of the Australian Gambling Research Centre, said the findings demonstrate the harm exposure to gambling advertising can cause.
“We know the harms that gambling causes, at an individual, family and societal level, including impacts on finances, relationships, and health and wellbeing,” she said in a media release.
“This research shows that exposure to wagering advertising is leading to riskier betting behaviour and escalating the likelihood of experiencing gambling harms.”
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australians lost approximately A$25 billion ($16 billion) on gambling in the financial year 2018-19, representing the largest per capita loss in the world.
Monday’s report comes as top sports leagues face a reckoning over their gambling sponsorship deals.
Commenting on the release of the AIFS report, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the findings would inform the government’s response going forward.