Media Release: Pioneering research to re-define online gambling safeguards

14 July 2017

The Hon Marlene Kairouz MP

Victorian Minister For Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Rgistration

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

Federal Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge and Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz today announced a jointly funded $300,000 research investment to identify harmful online gambling behaviour.

Central Queensland University has been commissioned to analyse wagering industry data to develop a list of behavioural indicators and a predictive algorithm that can detect people displaying harmful betting patterns.

Minster Tudge said the development of such a predictive model to ultimately protect consumers gambling online will be the first research of its kind in Australia.

“The predictive algorithm can be embedded into wagering operators’ websites to automatically detect customers at risk,” Minister Tudge said.

“What we do know is that in Australia problem gambling is three times higher online compared to other platforms.

Minister Kairouz said appointment of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to manage the project reinforces Victoria's position as a leader in addressing harm from gambling.

“Given the rapid growth in sports betting and online wagering, identifying betting patterns that indicate low and moderate risk of harm is critically important,” Minister Kairouz said.

“We want to work with online gambling providers to develop a tool that allows the wagering provider to intervene and protect players at risk.”

Minister Tudge said this research complements a new suite of measures the Commonwealth is introducing under the National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering.

“One of the framework’s eleven measures is improving industry staff training and capability to minimise harmful gambling behaviour by intervening earlier,” Minister Tudge said. 

“Algorithms and indicators will enable wagering staff to identify customers displaying signs of harm.

“They can then activate a number of responsible gambling strategies, such as contacting a customer and encouraging them to seek help.

“As part of the national framework, state and territory ministers have agreed that training should be included in state licencing arrangements, or other state-based mechanisms by the end of this year.”

The Commonwealth is contributing $200,000 to the research with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation contributing $100,000 to the project.

The project will be managed by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation as part of its strategic research program that focuses on reducing harm from gambling.