THE prevalence of mobile phones and tablets are making it increasingly easy for young people to develop a gambling problem says Lifeline Central West CEO Alex Ferguson.
In the lead up to Melbourne Cup tomorrow, many Australia’s will place a bet, however serious gamblers don’t need an excuse to gamble Mr Ferguson said.
“If it weren’t Melbourne Cup day they’d still be gambling,” he said.
“Australia does have a bit of a racing culture where people putting a few bucks on the ponies is basically what everyone has always done.
“It’s when this becomes a bit more regular that it becomes a problem.”
Mr Ferguson said many young people develop a gambling problem because it’s so easy to access online betting sites.
“If we were really serious about stopping gambling we’d look at online gambling, every other form of gambling happens in licensed premises,” he said.
Mr Ferguson said clubs and pubs with poker machines monitor their gamblers and have safety measures in place, such as insisting gamblers use cash, but there’s no such monitoring of online gamblers.
“It seems there’s one rule for pubs and clubs and another rule for the rest,” he said.
Mr Ferguson said people who use credit cards to gamble should ensure their bets don’t exceed their budget.
He said because online betting sites accept credit card payments, it can be easy to lose track of what you spent, or to get a bit carried away and spend more than you can afford.
Anyone who thinks they may have a gambling problem can call the 24-hour gambling helpline on 1800 858 858 or go online at www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au.