It’s become pretty cliché. Australians love to gamble. From the iconic images of Two-Up games on the shores of Gallipoli to the annual Melbourne Cup Festival, gambling has permeated the fabric of Australian culture. For many of us, the occasional flutter on the ponies, an hour whittled away on the pokies, or the thrill of dynamic online sports betting apps are part of our way of life.

The Financial Cost of Gambling

However, the rush that this dubious form of entertainment delivers comes with a cost. Collectively, we lose about $24million per year on gambling, at last count. Believe it or not, that equates to almost $11,000 per adult, per year. To put that into a little bit starker perspective for you, the Australian government spends about $31 billion on defence and $34 billion on education for the entire country. When the amount of money your country flutters away on the punt starts to get close to the amount it spends on educating its kids, you have to start thinking about whether you’ve got your priorities the right way around.

The Social Impact of Gambling

To make matters worse, the damage runs far deeper than financial losses. Problem gambling is strongly correlated to pretty much every social and behavioural issue known to man. Even moderately heavy gamblers are significantly more likely to engage in domestic violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, crime and a host of other ills. Additionally, rates of depression and suicide are sky-high when compared with the general population.

For all the public discourse, legislation, public awareness campaigns, advertising restrictions and other admirable measures taken to raise awareness of the potential dangers of excessive gambling, the growth of the industry continues virtually unchecked. Complicating the matter is the fact that various levels of government, as well as many sports clubs and other organisations, are heavily reliant on the direct, or tax income that they receive from gambling proceeds. This means that they are required to tread a careful line between controlling problematic behaviour while protecting a legitimate, legal pastime that provides a significant source of revenue.

Whatever the case, we are still inundated with slick advertising that presents gambling as a glamorous, exciting, social activity. Sports gaming is growing at a particularly scary rate. The betting companies are tapping into our obsession with sport and bombard us with messages that make gambling look like pretty much the coolest activity on the planet, and the virtual equivalent of a front-row seat at the game. It’s brilliant marketing, and it’s driving thousands of people in this country broke.

Unfortunately, the problem isn’t limited to adults. Youth gambling is now becoming a massive problem, roped in by slick marketing that promises to enhance the experience of watching sport. The government has tried to address this by banning advertising before 8:30pm. However, your average night footy game is still running way past that time, and have you ever tried telling a 15-year-old that they have to go to bed and miss the rest of the game? You get my drift then!

The Financial Benefits of Quitting Gambling

As you can imagine, here at Speckle our stock in trade is helping people get through a rough financial patch. It breaks our heart to see the number of people who are struggling to fix their cars, pay their rent or even feed their families, yet they’re still chasing that elusive big win on the pokies, at the tables or online. $11,000 is a massive amount to drop on the punt. Sure, there are plenty of high-stakes rollers that skew that number up, but there are also far more that don’t gamble much or at all to balance them out.

Whether you’re a heavy gambler, or just enjoy a recreational flutter, that cash undoubtedly has more productive uses. This is especially true if you’re feeling the financial pinch. Eliminating unnecessary spending on things like gambling, alcohol and cigarettes is one of the easiest ways to help you get through the tough times.  So, here’s a challenge for you: sit down with your bank statements and work out how much money you’ve spent in the past 6 months on gambling and other vices. Make sure you include your best estimate of any cash purchases you may have made, so you get an accurate figure. Excuse the pun, but if I were a betting person, I’d wager that you’ll get a bit of a shock.

Now, think about what your life would like if you took that amount and put against the principle on your credit card bill? How about if it went towards a new car, or to fix your current one? Maybe you could have scored yourself a new fridge, couch, dining table, computer or mobile phone? Perhaps all of the above?

Small Loans From Speckle Can Help Get You Back on Track

A fast cash loan from Speckle can be a welcome helping hand to manage life’s financial ups and downs or gain a safe, fair line of credit for productive necessities. However, before you start that application, it might be worth thinking very carefully about whether some simple changes to your lifestyle might free up the funds that you need. Our mission is to help more people in Australia help themselves to get on the path to financial stability and security. If giving the pokies a miss and deleting your sports betting app enables you to achieve that, it’s a win for us an even bigger one for you. Speckle’s small loans cannot be used for gambling or to pay down credit card debt that you’ve racked up. However, if you’re committed to taking positive steps towards improving your finances, then we’re here to provide a leg up if required.

Help for Problem Gamblers

If you or someone close to you feel that their gambling has reached problematic levels, please contact one of the below resources as soon possible:

  • Gambling Helpline SA – 1800 060 757
  • G-line NSW – 1800 633 635
  • Gambler’s Help Victoria – 1800 858 858
  • Mission Australia Gambling Counselling and Support Services ACT – (02) 6129 6100
  • Gambling Help Line QLD – 1800 858 858
  • Gambling Helpline Tasmania – 1800 858 858
  • Gambling Helpline WA – 1800 858 858
  • Amity Community Services NT – 1800 858 858
  • Salvo Care Line – 1300 36 36 22 (national)
  • Gambling Help Line – 1800 858 858 (national)

If your gambling or financial difficulties are causing you to feel down, depressed or your concerned you may hurt yourself or a loved one, please call one of these numbers or visit the website:

  • Beyondblue: www.beyondblue.org.au or 1300 22 4636 Information on depression, anxiety and related disorders, available treatments and where to get help
  • Youthbeyondblue: www.youthbeyondblue.com beyondblue’s website for young people – information on depression, anxiety and how to help a friend
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 24-hour counselling, information and referral
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 Support for men and their families
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 Telephone support for those at risk of suicide, their carers and those bereaved by suicide
  • Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA): (07) 3167 8306 Mental health information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277 Support and counselling for relationships