It has been revealed that a growing number of Australians have been spending cash set aside for their retirement on online gambling throughout the course of 2020. Clearly, this is linked to Covid-19, but is there a potential problem developing that the industry itself needs to become aware of?
How Do They Have the Money?
It seems that some Australians have been taking advantage of the ability to withdraw from their superannuation funds without paying tax in two batches of AU$10k a piece. However, while the government obviously had the belief that this would help people get through these tough times, it appears that a percentage of those individuals have had other ideas.
While the majority of individuals took less than the maximum, it looks like men spent around 10% of the money they withdrew on gambling while women were lower at 6%. This may not sound like much, but it does represent a healthy spend on gambling while also being up there from percentage terms with other items viewed as being more in line with our survival. Even though this figure may not be of concern to some, it does indicate that this move by the government had a direct impact on the gambling industry in the country even though that was never their intention.
Is it a Problem?
But there could be an additional downside as a direct result of people in Queensland spending their retirement cash in this way. It’s believed that this discovery may have contributed to the drafting of new legislation that is set to be passed in the very near future. That legislation will mean it’s illegal for gambling websites to entice people in Queensland to open an account or, alternatively, to get them to ask a friend to open one on their behalf.
This idea of incentives being illegal isn’t new, but what is primarily changing is the severity of the punishments dished out to those companies that try to flout and break the law. Fines will be increased, and it’s all in connection with an overall drive to make sure that the industry is not only fairly run, but also reduce the chances of people allowing their gambling to get out of control.
The future regarding this issue is going to result in a similar approach being taken across the whole of Australia, and not just what you see happening in Queensland. The National Consumer Protection Framework will form the basis of this uniform approach but we need to wait to see the changes that will be implemented and how it will then have a direct impact on what the gambling industry does next in Australia.