🍒 Australia's escalating addiction to gambling - BBC News

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racing, and other forms of betting are forms of gambling prominent in Australia. A common reaction is to minimise, hide or deny gambling problems and the about your gambling; Try to win back your losses; Miss important things in life.


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Australians are the world's most prolific gamblers, based on per capita spending, and many addicts and experts believe slot machines -- or.


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The facts about gambling in Australia reveal several such gambling facts and also the gambling addiction facts that might leave you amazed.


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They are the machines that anti-gambling campaigners in Australia say said in a statement that "these nationwide statistics show more.


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Gambling is also a significant public health issue, with around 80, to , (or - %) of Australian adults experiencing significant problems from.


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Australia's Gambling Crisis - A Current Affair

More Videos When gambling becomes an addiction Story highlights In , Australians lost more money per person than any other developed nation, one group says Pathological gamblers are at increased risk of stress-related conditions, such as hypertension. Part of the issue is both ease and access. It may or may not be related to gambling behavior. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported in that Sydney's Star City had ambulance attendances a year in the period since ," Livingstone said. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Everything about the machine is designed to draw you in. In Australia, "we have pokie machines on almost every street corner," said Charles Livingstone, a senior lecturer in the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Melbourne's Monash University. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Study finds 1 in 8 Americans struggles with alcohol abuse. Livingstone estimates that one-third of the people who play pokies once a week will develop a gambling problem. Slot machines, or pokies, are a common sight in Australian pubs and social clubs. The case is not seeking damages but is instead about making sure that poker machines are designed fairly and that players are genuinely informed about their prospects of winning, Kanis said. At the horse races, "you have to think about what bet are you going to place. Women now drink nearly as much alcohol as men, study finds. Sommerville insists the government "has their own addiction": to collecting tax revenue collected from gambling.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Pokies are "really good at getting people hooked: Each bet provides a dopamine release, similar to a drug like cocaine, in your brain," explains Livingstone. In order to keep the government sweet, the gambling industry donates to political parties and independent MPs, Livingstone said. At the Star casino in Sydney, hundreds of brightly lit slot machines line a room decorated with neon lights and a drab patterned carpet. The firm explained that the case centers on the Dolphin Treasure machine, which Kanis said "is misleading and deceptive and therefore in breach of consumer laws. Regulators impose comprehensive conditions on every aspect of poker machine design and operation," association Chief Executive Ross Ferrar said in an online post in The association confirmed that this remains its position regarding these machines. It might seem like a gambler's paradise, but ambulances are a regular sight here, with emergency services often answering calls for everything from psychiatric behavior to overdoses and attempted suicide. Within months of starting to gamble in , Sommerville, then a local government worker specializing in community support and health policies in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, was spending her entire salary on slot machines, known as pokies in Australia. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}Sydney, Australia CNN When Kate Sommerville visited a pub in Melbourne, Australia, to research a report on the socioeconomic impact of five new slot machines in the area, she never thought she would become an addict herself. She now recognizes that it wasn't only money she was losing but her well-being, too. Once they exceed that limit, they are shut out of the game. Preventing this change, according to Livingstone, is a powerful gambling industry -- and their cozy relations with the government. Next month, Maurice Blackburn will be taking a landmark lawsuit against casino Crown Melbourne and poker machine manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies to the federal court. Driving this national addiction are the country's , electronic poker machines. Total gambling expenditure in Australia increased by 7. While gambling on sports tends to be male-dominated and seen as a traditionally masculine activity, playing the pokies has more equal distribution across the sexes, said Christopher Hunt, a clinical psychologist at the University of Sydney Gambling Treatment Clinic. This year, the Government of Victoria announced a year freeze on the number of poker machines in the state, seen by many anti-gaming advocates, includng Australian law firm Maurice Blackburn, as an important step toward making the gaming industry more responsible for the impact on communities. Australians are the world's most prolific gamblers, based on per capita spending. Depends on whom you ask. Merlene Kairouz, minister for consumer affairs, gaming and liquor regulation for the state of Victoria, also did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. Is sex addiction real? The firm claims that pokie machines are deliberately designed to trick players into thinking they are winning. At her age and with her extensive professional background, that was deeply shocking to her. Independent MP Wilkie agreed that there is a conflict of interest. Unable to concentrate, she eventually lost her job, and her seven-year relationship broke down soon after. Brown wants to see increased intervention from staff at pubs and clubs to prevent problem gamblers like herself from spending too much money, as well as stricter rules around self-exclusion lists: a voluntary process in which the gambler asks to be put on a list banning them from entry at certain venues. With a pokie, you just mindlessly sit there, pressing a button," added politician Andrew Wilkie, an independent MP who tried unsuccessfully to introduce reform to federal gambling regulation in They're prevalent in the community; they're high-intensity; they're highly addictive. Join the conversation. Pre-commitment would allow gamblers to choose a daily limit before they start playing, which is tracked electronically. I also have type 1 diabetes, so that run amok. The social toll of gambling is also high. I don't think there is sufficient evidence to make that cause and connection. On the other hand, these machines are big sources of taxation revenue," he said. Kate Sommerville, 69, became addicted to slot machines. After six years of being enslaved to a severe gambling habit, Sommerville sought help and stopped in But Sommerville is adamant that her story "can happen to anyone," particularly in Australia. She admitted, "I felt traumatized but couldn't stop. With the exception of Western Australia, pokies are allowed not just in casinos but in pubs and social clubs, where they are plentiful. Brown developed depression and anxiety. Much of it was taken, without her partner's knowledge, from their retirement funds. The machine makes the lights and sounds of a win even when a player has a partial return but has actually lost money on a spin, Kanis said. At the end of the week, I was exhausted. Laurie Brown, 58, with her partner, John Formby. Kanis, and her firm, believe that the gambling industry is aware of the harmful effects of problem gambling on vulnerable people yet continues to exploit problem gamblers. Some argue that poker machines are designed to mislead and deceive users. There needs to be wide-scale systematic change, said former addict Somerville, who recently retired as the founding coordinator of the ReSPIN Gambling Awareness Speakers Bureau, where she dedicated her time to raising awareness of gambling problems in Victoria. Paul Toole, minister for racing for the government of New South Wales -- whose remit also covers gaming in the state -- did not respond to CNN's request for comment. However, the Gaming Technologies Association, the representative body for Australian gaming machine technology suppliers, says that the strict legal and compliance obligations of the Australian gaming industry keep the machines in check.