Online gambling is more addictive than slots, says Greens

The Greens have vowed to make online gambling the next frontier for reform in NSW by calling for a ban on simulated gambling features such as ‘loot boxes’ for under 18s as participation rates grow faster than any other segment of the gambling and gambling industry betting industry .

According to the 2019 NSW Gambling Survey, people who gamble online are twice as likely to develop a serious addiction as those who gamble in venues. Australia’s online gambling market reached $6.8 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow 7 percent over the next five years.

Cate Faehrmann said parents are particularly concerned about the addictive properties of online games.

Cate Faehrmann said parents are particularly concerned about the addictive properties of online games.Credit:Kate Geraghty

A Senate investigation into online gambling has found that companies are targeting children and teens by embedding gambling-like features like virtual casinos and “loot boxes,” which offer a mysterious prize in exchange for in-game points or real money, in video games. The research found that teens who played gamblified games had a higher risk of developing gambling or video game problems.

The NSW Greens want a national independent gambling commissioner, a pre-commitment system across all platforms, a ban on gambling advertising on television, radio and online, regulation of gambling in video games including a ban on loot boxes and a ban on political donations to the gambling industry. The policy was designed in coordination with the Federal Greens.

NSW Greens gaming spokeswoman Cate Faehrmann said that contrary to the party’s call for a mandatory cashless gaming system for poker machines, its online gaming platform is not a condition of its support of a minority government. But it would be the next focus after the poker machines.


“Every time I talk about slots, so many people say to me, ‘But don’t forget online gambling, it’s worse,'” Faehrmann said.

“This sleeper problem is causing more harm — and potentially lifelong harm — to a larger portion of the community. Without proper regulation, we are letting a generation of young people become addicted to the predatory gambling industry.”

In 2022, the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that 11 per cent of Australians had engaged in online gambling in the previous six months, up from 8 per cent in 2020. Online gambling is more addictive than slots, says Greens

Justin Scaccy

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