TABCORP and the ‘genuine (commercially viable) customer’

Fair Wagering has been handed an extraordinary document that lifts the lid on Australia’s biggest wagering operator’s attempts to severely restrict winning punters at TAB retail outlets.

It looks as though Tabcorp recently sent the document out to agents on its 2600-strong retail network across New South Wales and Victoria. The missive appears to be an attempt to placate agents in at least 100 TAB’s who have reported plunging commissions as a result of restrictions placed on the size of all bets, even if just one punter is winning.

Tabcorp referred to “expanded risk management” in their fixed odds division at a recent mid-year presentation – we now know what it means for punters, and it ain’t pretty.

Tabcorp have officially joined the scourge that has become rife within the Australian corporate bookmaking community.

They are no longer bookies and are simply accountants who wish to manage money (bets) from mug punters.

Because all punters are “mugs” and have trouble with even basic English, we at FWA have paraphrased some of the key points in Tabcorp’s “Fixed Odds Liability Q&A” to help you to better understand corporate language.

If you want to read it for yourself, here it is. Otherwise, allow us.

From Tabcorp document, "Fixed Odds Liability Q & A"

From Tabcorp document, “Fixed Odds Liability Q&A”

i.e. We drove all winning punters off our website by rejecting any bets that didn’t suit us. Don’t get too excited if they roll up to your agency ready to bet big, turnover lots and help your business.

As soon as one of our bookmakers (accountants) get a whiff that a winning punter is betting in a TAB agency, we’ll flick a switch and shut the agency down. No 10 second reset or phone call will help.

From Tabcorp document, “Fixed Odds Liability Q&A”

i.e. If we have to manage all 2600, we will. The winning punters that we are trying to get rid of have thankfully only made it to 100 agencies so far.

From Tabcorp document, “Fixed Odds Liability Q&A”

i.e. VERY IMPORTANT POINT. Only losers are “genuine customers”. We don’t want winning punters getting in the way of our profits. If you spot a winning punter (non-genuine customer) in your agency, stay calm; alert us, we’re here to help.

From Tabcorp document, "Fixed Odds Liability Q&A"

From Tabcorp document, “Fixed Odds Liability Q&A”

i.e. If it’s 6pm on a Friday night and there are only two punters in your agency having $1 mystery trifectas and a winning punter (non-genuine customer) walks in wishing to bet big and hard with your turnover incentivised agency, DO NOT BET THEM. We at headquarters make a gross profit of $10 million a week off fixed odds bets. That’s not enough, we want more!

Don’t worry about your own little business, that’ll sort itself out in the long term, sorta, kinda??!!

———-

We are informed that the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing are looking into Tabcorp’s new fixed odds management procedures. We’ll forward this onto them.

Tabcorp, through tab.com.au, retail outlets, Luxbet and Sky Racing are the undisputed driver of the racing industry. They need to, and are entitled to be profitable. But who is betting to lose? We all need to at least know that one day maybe we can be winners. If this new style of management becomes the norm, we will all only ever be losers. Tabcorp can take us for granted at its own peril.

Perhaps there should be a warning whenever you enter a TAB outlet in New South Wales or Victoria – ‘WARNING: GENUINE CUSTOMERS ONLY. BETTING TO WIN WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.’

—————

Please Note: The author of this article has absolutely no association with Sydney rails bookmaker David Dwyer.

UPDATE – Code of Conduct

UPDATE

I have put together a draft Code of Conduct for Corporate Bookmakers in Australia. I feel it is a fair Code of Conduct and considers bookmakers needs and potential liabilities, yet provides a fair market place for punters. It is a code that if introduced, both punters and bookmakers can have confidence in the integrity of the market place they are betting into.

It also presents a straight forward solution to the so-called “untenable on-line conditions” that the Northern Territory Government put forward as to why they abolished their minimum bet rule for corporate bookmakers.

The code can be viewed here.

I have taken the code to the top regulatory bodies in racing in Australia and have sent it to some of the corporate bookmakers in Australia to get their opinions.

Australian Racing Board

I organised a meeting and presented the Code of Conduct to Australian Racing Board Chairman John Messara and CEO Peter McGauran. They believe it to be a credible Code for bookmakers and punters on the issue of corporate bookmaker obligations and account restrictions.

The ARB is acutely aware of the issue due to the significant number of complaints received from disgruntled punters and is considering the issue.

The issue was tabled and discussed at the ARB’s December board meeting.

I will be in touch with the ARB on the way forward in the New Year.

Australian Bookmakers Association

I organised a meeting and presented the Code to Peter Fletcher, CEO of the Australian Bookmakers Association. The ABA is the peak body for on-course bookmakers in Australia.

The ABA tabled the Code for discussion at their annual general meeting that was held a week ago in Perth. The ABA has fully endorsed the Code. They have written to the ARB suggesting that the ARB work with state regulators for the Code to become legislation Australia wide.

On-course bookies are rightly very angry and disillusioned with the unfair playing field they are subjected to. They are enforced to bet all comers while corporates hide up in the Northern Territory and other lax jurisdictions and pick and choose who they want to bet with them.

I have heard rumours that if things don’t change quickly, and corporates are not made to have obligations set on them as well, on-course bookies will no longer acknowledge betting obligations placed on them.

If on-course bookies did do this, it would have serious implications for the horse racing industry. Market place integrity would disappear overnight along with a lot of punters.

I will continue to work closely with the ABA.

Australian Wagering Council

The AWC is the peak body for corporate bookmakers in Australia. I emailed Chris Downy, CEO of the AWC, a copy of the Code and a request for a meeting. To Chris’s credit he said he would look at the Code and is happy to meet in the New Year to discuss.

Tabcorp

I emailed David Attenborough, CEO of Tabcorp, a copy of the Code and a request for a short meeting to discuss. Unfortunately, Tabcorp were not interested in meeting with me to discuss the Code.

Tabcorp had a change in management in their fixed odds team roughly 18 months ago. Since that change they have gone to great lengths to get rid of winners.

Luxbet is just simply banning any successful gamblers from their fixed odds service.

Tabcorp’s own fixed odds department now pick and choose when it suits them to accept bets from clients. They also drastically reduce the size of bets cash punters can have at TAB agencies as soon as they think a winning cash punter is betting at a particular agency.

If you’re losing you can have $5,000 bets, if you start winning they’ll cut the whole agency to maximum $50 bets.

This is to the determent of all other punters frequenting the agency not to mention the betting turnover incentivised franchisee operator.

Changing bet limits in this way is very likely to be against the regulatory framework Tabcorp are bound by.

Tabcorp’s behaviour is how the online industry works now. Corporates do whatever it takes to stop punters winning for the sake of their bottom line, with little regard for market integrity.

Tabcorp consider themselves one Australia’s leading corporate citizens, this conduct in my opinion doesn’t fit this ideal.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon

I had a brief conversation with Nick Xenophon and left him with my thoughts and what I am campaigning for. He is to consider all this and be in contact with me in the New Year.

Credible Corporates

I have been scathing in my assessment of most corporates. In the interests of fairness, I would point out that when I bet, I bet with Lloyd Merlahan’s Topsport, Mark Morrisey’s Unibet and the Tatts Group owned Unitab. These are three outfits that I, and all other punters I have spoken to, consider to be fair and will always bet you to win a t least 1k. Give them a try if you like.

The Code

Obviously some people will agree and some will disagree with the Code I put together. Please give your feedback in the comments section below.

I am aware that a lot of punters bet on sport and they also need to be considered. Hopefully, if bookies agree to this code, common sense will prevail and sport will be included in the Code of Conduct. While I am getting racing administrators to look at the codes viability for horseracing, sport has to be left out, as they have no jurisdiction over sport.

If I’ve achieved anything out of the noise I have been making it is that now at least all of racings most senior administrators know about the issue.

Racing administrators need to deal with this issue swiftly and decisively in the New Year. Punters deserve a fair marketplace.

If racing administrators believe corporate bookmakers should be allowed to behave like they do, then they need to let us all know. Then at least we can all vote with our feet. Let’s hope for racing’s sake it doesn’t turn into a stampede.

– Richard Irvine

NT Minister must act

Richard touched on the role of the regulator in his article earlier the week. Since that piece was published, we have been swamped with stories and examples from punters who have turned to the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) for “fairness”, only to have their claims completely rejected.

Bookmakers licensed in the NT include: Bet365, Betchoice, Betezy, Betstar, Centrebet, Luxbet, NT TAB, Sportingbet, Sportsbetting (Hamish Davidson), Sportsbet and Tom Waterhouse.

The NTRC is established under the “Racing  and Betting Act NT“.

Included in the  powers and functions of the commission are the following:

(c) do all such things as it considers necessary or desirable for the proper regulation and control, in the interests of the public, of betting by and with bookmakers.. and
(d) do all such acts and things as it considers necessary or desirable for the proper regulation and control, in the interests of the public, of bookmakers, horse-racing, trotting and greyhound-racing..

Under the Racing and Betting Act, the commission also has four “objects“:

(a) to promote probity and integrity in racing and betting in the Territory; and
(b) to maintain the probity and integrity of persons engaged in racing and betting in the Territory; and
(c) to promote fairness, integrity and efficiency in the operations of persons engaged in racing and betting in the Territory; and
(d) to reduce any adverse social impact of betting.

NTRC

The NTRC pledges to provide fairness and integrity to all persons engaged in racing and betting.

Here are just two examples that have been forwarded to us from punters who have had issue with a NT-Licensed bookmaker:

1. RE: Removal of the minimum bet rule and the subsequent changes to terms and conditions at Bet365.

Complainant states:

“Surely it is unethical, not to mention discriminatory, to allow and support practices where “unintelligent” bettors are able to lose infinite sums of money to “bookmakers” yet punters with any modicum of intelligence/ display of profitable behaviour are weeded out to the point of rendering the placement of any bets a futile exercise? Fairness would dictate that if “bookmakers” are free to completely restrict profitable customers then they should also be compelled to restrict those who actively display at risk behaviour and lose large sums? However, we both know such a suggestion is folly and will never occur. Is it really that unreasonable to expect “bookmakers” to allow smart bettors to bet to win $1k on racing selections as a fair balance when they freely those who don’t bet with such intelligence to lose infinite sums of money, potentially putting unknown stresses on their own personal finances and those of their families?

Small scale sole operator bookmakers are expected to bet punters of all levels of intelligence for certain amounts in all jurisdictions as a part of their licensing. Is it really fair that large scale, global conglomerates are given a free pass to shirk such requirements when in reality they are the ones with the customer base, liquidity and hence the ability to profitably and fairly balance the “smart money” with the not so smart money?”

The notion that bookmakers have a responsibility to provide a fair and reasonable service to all comers is not new and has been a traditionally enshrined observance for bookmakers of all times, hence the reasoning behind such notions being enshrined in legislation and licensing requirements throughout virtually all jurisdictions. The allowance of the below is a complete affront to such and completely destroys any notion of fairness in the “battle” between punter and bookmaker insofar as the bookmaker is now completely put in a position where the only outcome will be the taking of punters’ money. This is not only unfair, it is also completely unethical.”

My only realistic expectation is to seek some review of the balance between bookmaker and bettor given the skew that the allowing of such changes puts on this relationship, or if not review at least that such concerns are weighed up whenever changes to regulations are proposed. Nobody can deny the right of a bookmaker to operate in a profitable manner but the allowing of changes such as those I have queried clearly shifts the balance from operating profitably to allowing and encouraging bookmakers to operate in a greedy and unfair manner. Something that responsible regulation has, and always should, seek to repudiate.”

NTRC response:

“The removal of the Minimum Bet Rule and the placing of restrictions on a client’s account is not a valid dispute as prescribed in Regulation 17. Despite this the Racing Commission is able to make the following determination pursuant to the wider provisions of Section 85 of the Racing and Betting Act.

The Northern Territory Racing Commission recently removed the requirement for On-Line Sports Bookmakers Licensed in the Northern Territory to stand to lose pre‑determined amounts on wagering transactions. This decision acknowledges the structural differences between on-course and on-line bookmaking. The Commission is aware that some members of the racing media and a large number of punters are disappointed with the Commission’s recent decision. In response to these concerns the Commission is making this statement and providing a more fulsome rationale for its action through release and posting of the full Decision of the Commission on its website.

The former Minimum Bet Rule was introduced in response to complaints from account holders over capping of fixed odds win wagers with punters in some cases restricted to win miniscule amounts, and to align the obligations of on-line bookmakers with those on-course. The technical realities of internet operations made it so that rather than stake clients to the minimum required under the Rule, many Sports Bookmaker Licensees simply closed the accounts of those who regularly benefited from the Rule.

Assessment of brand and reputation risk fall to respective Licensees to determine and it is for them alone to decide how best to attract and retain clients. Customers are free to take their business to other operators or wager into the Pari-mutuel pool at any time or where possible take advantage of wagering services provided by On Course Bookmakers. It is the belief of the Racing Commission that going forward a commercially realistic balance with respect to alternative available wagering product will be struck to the benefit of the broader gambling public.

With regards to bet365 specifically the Racing Commission has acknowledged the disproportionate level of disputes levelled at this bookmaker and has requested they attend the monthly Commission meeting in September. The bookmaker has been asked to inform the Commission of their risk management and account closure practices.”

2. RE: Removal of bonus winnings on a subsequently restricted account at Bet365.

Complainant states:

“One day I was attempting to place a horse racing bet of $300 and was restricted to around $3. I then saw that I received an email from Bet365 notifying me that restrictions have been placed on my account.

Around two weeks later, Bet365 made a transaction on my account “Bonus Balance Removal” and removed around $800 from my account – what I assume to be an initial bonus bet of $200 and associated winnings.

When I state that they placed restrictions making it almost impossible to turnover the required amount, they say, as per their conditions that they are not required to accept any bet. The latter term makes it near on impossible to fulfill the first term. I believe this represents grossly unfair conduct.

I understand that I had 90 days to turnover a certain amount to ensure winnings from bonus bets can become withdraw-able, but how can Bet365 take this money away after severely restricting my account before this period expires?

I would like Bet365 to either a) return the winnings portion of $XXX ($XXX that was removed, minus the $200bonus) to the account or b) return the full amount ($800) to the account and allow it to be turned over with bets at a reasonable level.”

NTRC response:

“This dispute does not relate to a specific wager not paid to the client, it relates to restrictions being placed on the account by the bookmaker and also the difficulty encountered by the client in utilising free bets because of the restrictions as a result of being able to meet turnover requirements.  Also, winnings relating to turnover requirements have been removed.

The bookmaker has stated that they “…acknowledge that restrictions placed on Mr X’s account would have made it difficult to reach the $1200 turnover figure however we reserve the right to decline all, or part, of any bet/wager requested at our sole and absolute discretion”.

The Courts and Racing Commission have long held the relationship between a bookmaker and their client as one “…founded in contract law”. Commissioner Timney in his decision of L v Sportingbet (13 February 2013) held at [30]:

30) The striking of a wager between a bookmaker and a punter is an agreement founded in contract law.

The bookmaker has acknowledged the placing of restrictions on the account made it hard for Mr X to meet the turnover requirement however it did not prevent him from doing so and Mr X in opening and operating the account with the bookmaker has accepted the terms and conditions, albeit ones that may be considered harsh or restrictive

The bookmaker has invoked their reserved rights to enforce the terms and condition of the promotion which included the turnover requirement and expiration clause as well as their right to refuse all or part of any wager. These rules have been approved by the Racing Commission and more importantly accepted by Mr X when he opened and operated the account. The Racing Commission is not empowered to intervene in such an event to undo a contractual arrangement between parties that has seemingly been applied to its letter.

Mr X, it is the determination of the Racing Commission that the bookmaker has applied the accepted terms and conditions correctly and has no case to answer in relation to this dispute.”

————————————-

On both occasions, the fallback explanation of the NTRC seems to be that “the bookmaker has applied the accepted terms and conditions correctly”.

It’s clear that the NTRC are placing licensees desire to generate greater profits well and truly ahead of their objects of maintaining fairness and integrity for all participants. They are approving Terms and Conditions that are simply unfair.

There is no doubt that bookmakers can turn a profit by betting both winners (a reasonable amount) and losers. Their profits might be reduced, but since when is a bookmakers license a guaranteed license to print money? If they cant make enough profit to sustain their operations here, then go back to the UK or hand back the license.

Two other aspects of the NTRC’s responses cause great concern.

  • “Customers are free to take their business to other operators” – NTRC

This seems an open invitation for successful punters to take their business to one of many offshore operators targeting Australians. Surely, this poses a huge integrity risk?

  • The punter “has accepted the terms and conditions, albeit ones that may be considered harsh or restrictive” – NTRC

The NTRC have approved these T and C’s – thus the NTRC are condoning “harsh” and “restrictive” measures. That’s enough for me.

Given the powers, functions and objects of the NTRC, Fair Wagering Australia believes the commission is completely and utterly failing in it’s obligations under the Racing and Betting Act.

As our complainant from above notes:

“The allowance of (severe restrictions, no min bet) is a complete affront … and completely destroys any notion of fairness in the “battle” between punter and bookmaker insofar as the bookmaker is now completely put in a position where the only outcome will be the taking of punters’ money. This is not only unfair, it is also completely unethical.”

“Nobody can deny the right of a bookmaker to operate in a profitable manner but the allowing of changes such as (removing the minimum bet rule) clearly shifts the balance from operating profitably to allowing and encouraging bookmakers to operate in a greedy and unfair manner. Something that responsible regulation has, and always should, seek to repudiate.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

We say:

The NT minister responsible for overseeing the commission, Hon David William Tollner MLA, must act to ensure the NTRC is indeed ensuring fairness and integrity are maintained for all participants.

Apart from acknowledging receipt of queries to his office, the Minister has failed to respond to questions from Fair Wagering Australia.

Maybe its time we all sent him an email to convey our thoughts:

Hon David William Tollner MLA

email: Minister.Tollner@nt.gov.au

Wagering Council Comedy

Honestly – who are the clowns running this show?

Just take a look at this Australian Wagering Council Statement in response to last night’s Today Tonight story.

“Bookmakers will occasionally decline bets placed by professional gamblers. This is because their bets can distort a betting market. In such instances, the odds change, meaning average punters get worse value. Bookmakers protect the interests of average punters by restricting bets from a professional. Roughly one in every 10,000 bets is declined.

Related articles

Sports betting and the misleading media

As the sports betting industry continues to cop it from all angles in the media, The Insider asks why.

As the commentary continues in light of the Federal Government’s decision to partially ban sports betting promotion on TV and radio, how is it that so many in the media – supposedly independent media at that – are getting away with misleading their audience about sports betting?

Surely journalists can’t be so misinformed when it comes to discussing gambling? So often, articles and reports begin by talking about the current sports betting issue and somehow end up blurring the lines by making general statements about more harsh forms of gambling.

As I’ve mentioned before here:

“Many commentators and like have failed to understand that different forms of gambling have different returns, different attractions and ultimately, different rates of problem gambling and addiction.”

Some facts:

– Latest figures show that sports betting accounts for just 1.6% of total gambling expenditure in Australia. Yes, all the recent coverage for 1.6%!

– The Productivity Commission report into gambling found that wagering (of which betting on sport makes up a minor percentage alongside racing and tote betting) was responsible for less than 10% of problem gamblers. Pokies, not surprisingly, made up 80%.

– The sports betting industry is growing at around 3% a year. But don’t let that get in the way of a good headline: “Study finds explosion in sports betting despite decline in number of gamblers

Sports betting is far less repetitive and thus one of the safest, most regulated and least addictive forms of gambling available. Yet the media, fuelled by a mob seemingly angry and annoyed at one individual, often conclude differently.

‘Not far enough’ screams FitzSimons, ‘this insidious practise must be stopped’ cries the Greens. How about some perspecive? Never mind about the other 98.4% of the gambling pie, most of which includes the wicked, malicious and made-to-be-addictive poker machines.

Take this report on ABC TV’s ‘Lateline’ last night, where the main focus was on linking the sports betting industry to the tobacco industry!

We had a bloke called Michael Moore, CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia, tell us that “This is where it really relates to tobacco. It’s that business of trying to tackle teenagers… we know they’re targeting teenagers and children.” Excuse me? Any evidence?

We had a ‘mummy blogger’ tell the world that a child “on one of the sports betting sites, saw an online link to a National Australia Bank credit card that could be opened over the phone and thought he’d give that a try”. Which site? Absolute fiction.

And then worst of all we have the so-called ‘academics’. These are the go to people to fill your story with gravitas and compelling intellectual quotes. One such is Southern Cross University researcher Dr Sally Gainsbury. She says that “there is evidence that there are higher problem gambling rates among people who gamble online and these internet gamblers are more likely to gamble in a greater number of activities and also more frequently engage in gambling.”

Let’s just ignore for a moment the fact that this ‘academic’ doesn’t actually produce any evidence or that suddenly sports betting has been piled in with all forms of online gambling. What Dr Sally never tells her audience or more importantly the journalist, is that she is in the pocket of the pokie lobby. Totally ‘independent’ research, yet straight from the Clubs Australia playbook. Thanks Sal.

There was this report where Ben Eltham concludes that “the industry has made very little noise about the current proposal” and is thus happy with the reforms. That’s because the sports betting industry doesn’t have a mouthpiece! Rightly or wrongly, the Australian Wagering Council and its CEO Chris Downy have remained silent. All they had to do was point out some facts. Compare this response to the appalling campaign of misinformation by the clubs lobby over poker machine reform and the contrast is immense.

Misinformed and misguided media aside, our kids can now watch sport on TV without any gambling promotion (just flick the channel over at quarter and half time!). So life is good again for all of Australia’s impressionable teenagers? Don’t bet on it.

This article was originally published at OnThePunt.com. It has been reproduced with permission.

The Real Gambling Menace

The real menace - poker machines

It’s become an all-in frenzy. Just about every commentator, writer and blogger in the land has had a crack at Tom Waterhouse – and rightly so. His mother and at least one “journalist” has attempted to quell the anger, but alas, it’s all been to no avail.

Everyone I’ve spoken to in the business wants to see Waterhouse pull his head in, for the damage he is doing to the wagering industry is fast becoming irreparable.

But I’m not going to dwell on what I or others think of Waterhouse and his overtly pervasive and irresponsible advertising practices. That’s been done. But some of the related commentary in the media is worth examining.

It’s as if sports betting is suddenly the most dangerous form of gambling available.

To link sports betting with high rates of problem gambling – as many journalists, psychologists and even academics have done recently – might be music to the ears of the pokie pushing Clubs industry, but it has little to do with facts.

Many commentators and like have failed to understand that different forms of gambling have different returns, different attractions and ultimately, different rates of problem gambling and addiction.

Let’s take a look at some of the facts.

Latest figures show that sports betting accounts for just 1.6% of total gambling expenditure in Australia.

The Productivity Commission report into gambling found that wagering (of which betting on sport makes up a minor percentage alongside racing and tote betting) was responsible for less than 10% of problem gamblers. Pokies, not surprisingly, made up 80%.

The same report also found that pokie players were up to 22 times more likely to be problem gamblers compared to those betting on racing. The figure for sports betting can be presumed to be even lower. Here’s why.

Let’s assume that a punter is looking for some gambling entertainment on a Saturday afternoon and is looking to risk $200 of their hard earned.

If they went to a pokie venue and assuming they played a machine at  $1 per spin (close to the average), with a maximum spin rate, their $200 would last just 100 minutes. (1200 spins or $1200 wagered per hour x 10% expected loss = $120 lost per hour)

Meanwhile, if the same punter bet $200 on the head-to-head outcome of an Aussie Rules or Rugby League match, they can be expected to lose just $10-$12. ($200 x average head-to-head fixed odds margin/expected loss of 5-6%)

In other words, two hours of “enjoyment” (and I use that term loosely) at a pokie venue will cost you $240. Two hours sitting in front of the TV watching the footy? $10-$12. Your $200 will last more than 20 times longer with sports betting – and that’s assuming you don’t gain an edge over the bookie with your bets – as some do. No one gains an edge over the pokies.

One touch of a pokie button equals one event which can last as short as 2.14 seconds where the punter will lose an average of 10% of their investment.

A punter betting on the head-to-head outcome of an Aussie Rules or Rugby League match, is betting on one event lasting around two hours where they can be expected to lose just 5-6% of their investment.

Sure, punters might bet on a few different matches, or even different betting options within each match. But, it’s not going to come close to the repetition experienced in other comparitive forms of gambling.

The whole point is that sports betting is far less repetitive – and thus far less dangerous – gambling experience.

And yes, the morally corrupt Clubs Australia really did state in their submission to the Review of the Interactive Gambling Act recently that they, “believe that the prohibition on interactive live (sports) betting should be maintained, given the potential for high rapidity betting”. I don’t know of too many sporting events that last less than 2.14 seconds.

Yes, people can become problem gamblers by participating in any form of gambling. But suggestions that ”by normalising wagering associated with these sports, there is a high risk that the prevalence of problem gambling will increase..” are just unfounded.

Surely the rate of problem gambling has to be looked at if one wants to target harm mimimisation measures and help reduce the numbers affected. But all too often people are putting all forms of gambling into the one basket.

It is pokies that undoubtedly cause the most social damage of any form of gambling available. They are purely designed to be addictive and to lure the punter into a state of mistaken hope.

This article was originally published at OnThePunt.com. It has been reproduced with permission.