Mounting losses fan anti-gambling flames

Gambling Statistics Australia has just published its annual report showing Australians lost $23 billion (US$17.5 billion) in 2015 on gambling, up 8 percent from the previous year, with more than half of that bet on pokies. A smaller amount of $815 million was lost to sports betting, but that was a spike of 30 percent from the prior year. The data comes against rising anti-gambling sentiment in the country, helped by the ascent to power of anti-gambling crusader Nick Xenophon in recent elections. The industry looks set to face increased pressure for reform, including a clamp down on sports-betting TV adverts and calls for restrictions on “highly addictive” gaming machines. But is the recent wave of public criticism and negative press fair? How serious is problem gambling in Australia and what further measures could the industry take to alleviate concerns without damaging business? Australians have earned the somewhat dubious reputation for being...

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