Smartphone risk trifecta compounds gambling harms in young adults

Skip to content
Smartphone risk trifecta compounds gambling harms in young adults
26 July 2022

Smartphone risk trifecta compounds gambling harms in young adults

Smartphones create a risk trifecta when it comes to the potential for gambling harm, new research has found.

The report, produced by Central Queensland University and funded by the NSW Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF), revealed three key features of smartphone betting that elevate the likelihood of gambling harm in 18–29-year-olds.

Director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, Natalie Wright, said privacy, portability, and more access to inducements and gambling options make smartphone betting a much riskier proposition for problem gambling.

“The highest-risk sports bettor demographic is single, professional, tech-savvy young men. This aligns with the target market of most Australian wagering operators and because of this research we now understand why a young man with a smartphone is more at risk,” Ms Wright said.

“Online sports, esports and fantasy betting are increasing dramatically, and it is because these platforms thrive in conjunction with smartphones.”

“The young person glued to their phone is precisely the captive audience who will find it very difficult to switch off from betting.”

“Betting apps are designed to take advantage of this, to keep you engaged, keep you betting and make it easy to act on the urge to bet.”

While the research predictably confirms the features of smartphones that make betting easier, it also found that the combination of these features can compound harmful behaviours such as more frequent betting, impulsive betting, placing less well researched and a wider variety of bets, and betting more in social situations.

CQ University lead investigator, Professor Nerilee Hing, said the study, involving almost 1,000 young sports bettors, highlights the dangers of combining online gambling with instant access and portability.

“Being able to place a bet in a matter of seconds, from anywhere and everywhere, is creating a new generation of young people being harmed by gambling,” Ms Hing said.

Co-investigator, Associate Professor Alex Russell, said the frequent inducement offers that betting operators send also trigger instant betting, yet these promoted bets usually have poorer odds.

“To manage this, customers can unsubscribe from offers and set limits on their betting accounts to avoid unwanted temptations to bet,” Mr Russell said.

If you feel like your gambling is getting out of hand, please call GambleAware on 1800 858 858 or go to 24/7 for free, confidential advice and support.

To learn more about this study and get access to the complete report click on the link CQU report

All media enquires related to the Office of Responsible Gambling can contact: and general enquiries can contact:

GambleAware acknowledges Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the land and we pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. GambleAware is an inclusive support service.
Copyright © 2022 NSW Office of Responsible Gambling