Advocates Warn NSW Lottery Growth Normalizes Gambling

Across Australia, gambling is quite popular and widely spread. Sadly, Australians are known as the world’s biggest losers as they report the highest losses per capita out of any other country around the world. While hundreds of millions of Australian dollars are lost to pokies, also known as the one-armed bandits in the country, the lottery is also a popular gambling activity.

In New South Wales (NSW), the oldest and most populous Australian state, lottery tickets are available in a wide range of retail outlets, including news agencies, grocery stores, gas stations and even liquor stores.

The increased availability became possible thanks to a moratorium that was removed in 2015. Prior to the lifting of the moratorium, the sale of lottery tickets was restricted to news agencies. However, for nearly a decade, the availability of lottery tickets has grown exponentially, and this is not unexpectedly raising concerns.

There are approximately 1,300 retail outlets that sell lottery tickets across NSW. This number hasn’t grown significantly recently, but what’s concerning is the “normalization” of gambling via lottery products such as scratch-offs, a new report reveals. Carol Bennett, the chief executive of the Gambling Reform Alliance, who was recently quoted by ABC Radio Sydney, sounded the alarm about the potential risks of lottery gambling activities.

A Pervasive Culture That Normalizes Gambling

The announcement comes at a time when BWS, a company owned by Endeavor Group, the leading operator of pokies and pubs, became the latest chain to enter the gambling sector. BWS reportedly was granted a license, permitting three of its shops in Sydney to sell lottery tickets. The company did confirm that it started a trial for selling lottery tickets.

This is precisely one of the concerns raised by Bennett who warned about the dangers of selling gambling products together with alcoholic beverages. “It’s a pervasive culture and it kind of normalizes this whole culture… you can pick up a quick pick at your local BWS, while you’re getting your six pack of beer,” explained the executive.

Additionally, the Gambling Reform Alliance’s chief executive deemed lotteries as “insidious.” She explained that there are serious risks associated with the activity and it is not harmless, just like other gambling options.

Bennett spoke about the normalization of lottery gambling together with shopping for groceries and even alcohol. She warned that this normalization has a “cumulative effect” that may ultimately have dire consequences.