A fresh push to come to grips with online gambling

Published:15 October 2019

Dr Alex Russell and Professor Nerilee Hing

The Interactive Gambling Study is being led by Professor Nerilee Hing (right) and her colleagues from CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, including Dr Alex Russell (left).

Gambling Research Australia (GRA) is funding a team of eminent Australian and international researchers to identify the latest trends in online/interactive gambling, particularly sports and race betting participation, in the context of broader trends in gambling behaviour.

GRA is a national gambling research partnership between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. GRA funds projects of national significance and recently contributed over $1 million towards the Interactive Gambling Study, which is being led by Professor Nerilee Hing, from CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory.

The research aims to determine the prevalence of online gambling, measure the gambling behaviours of online gamblers, and assess the relationship between online gambling and gambling-related harm.

In 2014, Professor Hing led the first national prevalence study of online/interactive gambling in Australia, also funded by GRA. Her colleague, Dr Alex Russell was a key researcher on this project, conducting all statistical analyses. He will perform a similar role in the current study, analysing how online gambling has changed in Australia since 2014.

“The online gambling market in Australia is changing, especially sports betting, which is influenced by extensive gambling advertising and mobile technologies,” Professor Hing says. “We will also examine new forms of gambling, like betting on esports, fantasy sports, skin gambling and loot boxes.”

The National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering has strengthened the regulatory environment for Australians gambling online and provides 10 consumer protection measures that aim to minimise gambling harm. The findings from this study will further inform online gambling policy and consumer protection measures across Australia.

Other CQUniversity team members include Professor Matthew Rockloff, Associate Professor Matthew Browne, PhD student Nancy Greer and Vijay Rawat. International researcher Dr Anne Salonen (Senior Researcher, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Tobacco, Gambling and Addictions, Helsinki, Finland) will also join the team.

Other team members are Associate Professor Nicki Dowling and Dr Stephanie Merkouris (Deakin University), Dr Matthew Stevens (Menzies School of Health Research at Charles Darwin University), Dr Marisa Paterson (Australian National University), Dr Daniel King (Flinders University), and Linda Woo (former Executive Director of Policy and Projects, Office of Regulatory Policy in Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General).