The ease of making devastating losses on sports betting apps, according to a gambling addict.

From Teenage Gambler to a Life of Addiction: Michael’s Story

Michael was just 17 when he placed his first bet on a horse race. Little did he know that this innocent bet would lead him down a path of addiction and heartbreak that would last for decades.

Now 45, Michael resides in regional Queensland and still attends regular Gamblers Anonymous meetings. He reflects on how the gambling industry has evolved over the years, from betting at local sports clubs to the proliferation of on-demand betting apps on mobile devices.

Michael admits that sports betting became too easy with the advent of these apps, allowing him to place bets on various sports events 24/7. He recalls staying up until the early hours of the morning, anxiously waiting for the outcome of his bets.

The federal government recently conducted an inquiry into online gambling harm, which revealed that Australians spend the most per capita on legal gambling in the world, losing $25 billion annually. The inquiry recommended a complete ban on gambling advertising within three years, citing concerns about its impact on children and vulnerable individuals.

However, five months after the report was released, no advertising recommendations have been implemented, and the government is still “considering” its response. The Alliance for Gambling Reform is urging the government to take urgent action and begin implementing the ban.

Chief advocate Tim Costello expresses concern about the delay and the close relationship between the sports betting industry and major sporting codes. He points out that other countries, such as Italy, Belgium, and Spain, have already banned gambling advertising.

While major sporting codes acknowledge the harm of gambling advertising, they argue that it forms a significant part of their funding. This creates a challenging situation for reform advocates like Costello.

Academic Alex Russell from CQUniversity Gambling Research Laboratory highlights the prevalence of gambling ads, particularly in comparison to alcohol ads. He emphasizes the need for a coordinated approach to reducing gambling advertising.

Michael, who has experienced the devastating consequences of gambling addiction firsthand, believes that gambling advertising should be limited or banned completely. He acknowledges the support he received from his loved ones and Gamblers Anonymous in his recovery journey.


The federal government’s delay in implementing advertising reforms for online gambling has raised concerns among advocates for gambling reform. The inquiry’s recommendation of a complete ban on gambling advertising within three years has yet to be acted upon. While major sporting codes acknowledge the harm of gambling advertising, they are reluctant to support changes that may affect their revenue. However, countries like Italy, Belgium, and Spain have already implemented bans on gambling advertising. It is crucial for the government to take urgent action to protect vulnerable individuals, especially children, from the harmful effects of gambling advertising.

About the Author

This article was written by [Author’s Name], a passionate advocate for gambling reform and the protection of vulnerable individuals from the harms of gambling addiction.

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