SURVEY: Have your say and help shape the future of online gaming in Australia

Poker players often bemoan the fact that they have little opportunity to have their say on key issues relating to the future of the industry so there’ll be no excuse not to participate in the second phase of a national online survey looking at interactive forms of gambling technology, recently launched by Southern Cross University and the University of Sydney.

Australians are spending around $1 billion annually on illegal offshore gambling sites, yet with few regulations in place players are leaving themselves open to identify fraud, being ripped off or developing gambling problems. Interactive gambling technologies include the use of computers, mobile phones, wireless devices and smart televisions to access online gambling sites.

“Research shows online gambling can be risky, but that the best way to protect players is to provide a regulated environment that has harm minimisation and responsible gambling features and tools in place,” lead researcher Dr Sally Gainsbury from Southern Cross University’s Centre for Gambling Education and Research (CGER) said.

“We encourage individuals and organisations that support responsible gambling policy to support the online gambling survey through participating and also hosting links to the survey to enable further recruitment.

Professor Alex Blaszczynski of the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology said the survey would help the research team develop a player profile.

“Gaining a full understanding of the extent, characteristics and patterns of involvement of Internet users will assist in guiding the development of policies designed to protect recreational players and those at risk of developing problems,” Professor Blaszczynski said.

The research aims to recruit a large, representative sample of Australian gamblers to further the understanding of the impact of Internet gambling, including the contribution to gambling problems.

Dr Gainsbury said Internet gambling had changed significantly in the past decade, with more and more Australians using illegal offshore gambling sites.

“The constant access of online gambling has critical social implications, particularly given its appeal to younger people. Unfortunately overseas sites may not have strong consumer protections or responsible gambling measures, meaning that Australians are vulnerable to being cheated, having their identity or financial details stolen or developing gambling problems,” she said

• The Internet Gambling Survey can be accessed here and will run until at least the end of 2012. The survey team is comprised of Dr Sally Gainsbury from the Centre for Gambling Education and Research (CGER), CGER director Professor Nerilee Hing, Professor Alex Blaszczynski from the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney, the University of Lethbridge’s Dr Robert Wood and Professor Dan Lubman from Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, a major Australian telephone and online gambling-help provider.

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