The Gambling Support Program, Department of Health and Human Services, has produced this campaign as part of its response to the social impact of gambling.
Government policy aims to preserve the benefits of gambling while targeting harm minimisation measures to those at risk, or those suffering an adverse impact from gambling.
This campaign addresses the findings and recommendations of the Productivity Commission (PC) Report into Gambling 2010 that concern gamblers’ misunderstandings about how commercial gambling works, particularly in relation to games of chance.
The campaign also promotes the help and support options for people affected adversely by gambling.
Poker machines are understood to be the most problematic form of gambling and the PC report estimates some 40% of losses come from problem gamblers. This campaign provides important information to assist poker machine players and players of other games of chance with their gambling should they elect to gamble at all.
The ‘House Edge’ commercials are designed to inform the public of how commercial games of chance really work, drawing attention to the games’ in built House Edges. Gambling providers are businesses and these games are designed to make their businesses profitable, ensuring commercial viability, payment of staff and other costs. Some gamblers have false beliefs about their chances of winning, partly due to not understanding the House Edge, and the role of luck over the short and long term.
The calculators demonstrate the effect of the House Edge in poker machines, over time, on the player’s original stake. The calculators allow for different playing styles: How often does the player gamble on the pokies? How long do they play for in a session? How much do they bet each button press? These variables are used by the calculators to show how much players should expect to lose to the House Edge, and how quickly it can be lost. This information will assist players to make safer choices when playing the pokies.
The ‘Beliefs and Myths’ ads are a response to the misunderstandings, held by some gamblers, about how commercial gambling works. These misunderstandings, including that if you think ‘positively’ you can influence the outcome of a game of chance, can lead people to gambling more than they can afford.
The campaign slogan “The longer you play the more you lose” refers to the mathematical certainty that over time the House Edge takes on average a percentage of each bet on a commercial game of chance. The ad informs gamblers that they may be lucky and have a win in the short term, but in the long term the house edge will always mean the gambling venue wins. This is the certain outcome for the vast majority of gamblers, and accounts for almost all the gamblers who get into difficulty, and is therefore the focus of this campaign.
People who develop gambling problems because of these and other factors can experience serious consequences including marriage and relationship break ups, loss of jobs, legal problems, debt, mental health problems and in some cases, self-harm and suicide. It is therefore very important for the Tasmanian Government, through its Department of Health and Human Services to do everything possible to assist people to make healthy choices around gambling.
Wagering, as with betting on horses and Betfair, may have an element of control over the odds for the gambler. It’s a more complex form of gambling and not what we’re talking about in this campaign.
The campaign has also presented ads that address the emerging popularity of online casinos and other online gambling sites and games. Studies are showing high prevalence rates of online problem gambling. Many factors are contributing to this trend, including the convenience and accessibility of online gambling, and the heavy internet promotion of gambling sites through pop-up advertising. Online gambling casinos and poker sites aren’t regulated in Australia. Consequently there are consumer protection gaps, leaving online gamblers exposed to credit card fraud, non-payment of prizes and other risks.