Finished the new Please Gamble Irresponsibly: The Rise, Fall and Rise of Sports Gambling in Australia by Titus O'Reily, AFL satirist and sports historian recently. 

Here's a photo from one of my favourite watering holes, Palm Beach in Queensland, Australia.

Please Gamble Irresponsibly by Titus OReily 

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We spend $208 billion across all types of gambling each year, $15.5 billion on alcohol, and those over eighteen lose $1250 a year in gambling, which is classed as affordable and therefore not problem gambling.

Some stats:

  • Pokies and casinos are the biggest sources of gambling losses in Australia: we spent $174.6 billion for a $19.4 billion loss
  • Sports betting losses (excluding racing) were $24.5 million in 1997/98, and in 2016/17 $10.1 billion spent with $1.6 billion lost
  • Racing betting losses in 2016/17 were $3.33 billion lost

Titus' book is broken down into the following parts:

  • First Bets
  • The Wowsers Strike Back
  • The Law of Unintended Consequences
  • Governments Go All In
  • Risky Business
  • The Elephant in the TAB
  • What Are the Odds?

The federal government has a lot to answer for. As Titus says, "State governments had shifted from a policy of what the British had called 'service but don't encourage' to 'please everyone gamble like crazy so we can fun all the services you want without having to raise the taxes that make us unpopular."

I created this image for "the race that stops a nation" The Melbourne Cup a few months back which gives some additional reasons why I'm not a fan of the Melbourne Cup or events that encourage excessive gambling.

Nuptothecup 2019

The book blurb:

Australians will gamble on anything, from two flies crawling up a wall to less important things like federal elections. Thanks to the internet, mobile phones and gambling tax loving Federal and State governments, Australians can indulge their love of a punt no matter what they’re doing. Aussies can be at the birth of a child, performing open heart surgery or handling heavy machinery and still put a bet on. As a result, Australia sits atop the world when it comes to gambling, losing more money per capita than any other country, leaving the next biggest loser, Singapore, a distant second. But it wasn’t always this easy because once you could only gambling on sport in Australia illegally, which it turned out was also pretty easy. Over the last thirty years, gambling on sport has slowly, then quickly become legalised in Australia, to the point were almost every ad on TV seems to be about sport betting. This book traced the history of gambling in Australia from the convict era, the rise of SP bookies and organise crime, the legalisation and commercialisation of the industry and the threat it now poses to the integrity of sport.

READ the Book Excerpt

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Check out my reviews on Titus' other books: A Thoroughly Unhelpful History of Australian Sport  + Cheat the Not-So Subtle Art of Conning Your Way to Sporting Glory

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Leigh-Chantelle is an International Speaker & Consultant; Author, Singer/Songwriter and Blogger.

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