by George Nott

NSW Govt bets on tech to solve problem gambling

Jan 30, 2019
Collaboration SoftwareDigital TransformationFinancial Services Industry

The NSW Government is offering grants of up to $400,000 for companies developing ways to reduce gambling harm with technology.

The government’s Office for Responsible Gambling is seeking project pitches that to “ensure that technology is leveraged to most effectively deliver responsible gambling education, services and outcomes” it said in a statement today.

Small ($100,000) and large ($400,000) grants are available for pitches that use tech to “help understand gambling-related problems and develop innovative solutions”.

These might involve apps or online tools that help consumers make informed choices; immersive technology and virtual reality to develop materials that can be used to deliver gambling related education and awareness programs; innovative gambling harm minimisation messaging delivery; or increase quality interactions between gambling venue staff members and customers.

A mix of large scale projects involving multi?year investments and small projects with short time?frames will be funded.

Submissions – those from partnerships between technology firms and industry are specifically encouraged – close on February 26.

It is anticipated that successful projects will be notified in the second quarter of this year.

Pokie problems

In the year to June 2018, 55 per cent of the NSW population participated in some form of gambling, according to the Office. Lotteries and instant scratch tickets were the most widely used, followed by playing gaming machines.

In 2016/17, a total of $9.53 billion was spent on gambling in NSW, around 40 per cent of total gambling expenditure in Australia.

At last count (2012) around 12 per cent of the NSW population was classified as being at risk of problem gambling. Just less than one per cent was considered to be problem gamblers.

According to a 2014 report, NSW has around 95,000 pokie machines, the state only being beaten by Nevada, home of Las Vegas. Australia has the sixth highest number of gambling machines in the world.

In 2017, NSW treasury coffers took more than $2 billion in gambling taxes. In June last year the state government introduced a new tax on online gambling, predicted to draw about $100 million a year.