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The shift from gambling alone to betting with mates

6th January, 00:33

SOCIALISING with a "beer in one hand and your phone in the other".

That's the all too familiar scene when going to a bar or club to watch a game and Bundaberg CQUniversity's Dr Alex Russell said it correlates with the ever-changing accessibility to gamble online.

While Dr Russell said as a nation "we lose more on the pokies than most other countries lose on gambling altogether", but gambling was heavily ingrained in Australian culture and not just on the slots.

There's the Melbourne Cup, we play Two-Up on Anzac Day and we were gambling on the goldfields.

And with advances in online betting, gambling iswas changing.

He said pokie pending figures tended to stay about the same, but sports betting was "picking up" with mobile access and markets.

"You can bet on your credit card online too, where you can't do that on the pokies," he said.

"So we're seeing a big increase in sports betting; it's up about 11-fold over the last 10 years.

"And race betting is starting to pick up a little bit as well.

Again we think this is a halo effect; the apps that you can bet on your phone mostly do sports and race betting together."

Dr Russell said the Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory at the local campus was influential worldwide.

He said some of its work was on gambling advertising, finding it would "make people spend more than they want to, spend when they don't want to and (put on) riskier types of bets".

Some of his latest work focused on young people and gambling because "they experience the most severe harm from gambling".

"(This is) usually because they are impulsive, and most of these forms, like playing the pokies or betting on sports, really appeal to impulsive people," he said.

Dr Russell said one findings last year was that social influences were having a big impact.

"People hanging out with other gamblers and betting together is highly associated with gambling-related harm," he said.

"Particularly with sports betting on your phone, you used to just go to the pub with your mates, hang out and watch a game and have a beer maybe.

"But now you can bet on your phone, you can have a competition with each other. Young blokes are pretty competitive; they can have a competition to see who can pull off the most successful bets that night.

"It's not just watching a game with a beer in your hand.

"It's watching a game with a beer in one hand and your mobile phone in the other."