Sunday 26. June, 2016

New High Risk Sports Spread Betting Raises Concerns for Problem Gambling

A new high-risk sports betting market is targeting at-risk punters in Australia and is raising concerns for problem gambling. Offered by bookmaker, PointsBet, the system promises significantly bigger wins than with fixed odds betting.

Sports spread betting offers a margin on a game and allows punters to bet on whether the outcome will be higher or lower than the margin. Punters will be paid out if the margin is larger than their bet and will be liable for more than their original stake if their bet is incorrect. The more your bet wins, the more the punter will win whereas the more it loses, the more the punter will lose.

Sports spread betting is a complex system and the promise of big wins is expected to attract problem gamblers and young men.

“It has the potential to expose punters to considerable un-budgeted expenditure,” stated Dr Charles Livingstone, spokesman for the Alliance for Gambling Reform and public health expert at Monash University.

“Trying to beat bookies is a mug’s game. Unfortunately, many young men (in particular) fancy their expertise and may well end up in serious trouble very quickly by overestimating their actual understanding of particular sports or markets within sports.”

Chief executive of PointsBet, Sam Swanell, said that protection for punters would be ensured with detailed records and weekly spend limits available. He also said they are targeting informed gamblers and will be providing plenty of information. An aggressive marketing campaign aimed at their audience is being planned.

Associate professor Samantha Thomas, marketing and gambling expert at Deakin University, said that the aggressive marketing campaign was concerning.

“Our research clearly shows that young men often take gambling promotions at face-value and are often unaware of the extensive terms and conditions associated with the promotions that online gambling companies offer.”

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