Gambling Harm Advertising Not Seen by Children!
GamBlock® applauds the new regulations and any efforts made to help people harmed by gambling. However, the new Australian gambling harm taglines1 in advertising will not be seen by many Aussie children gambling offshore via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or TOR2.
A Virtual Private Network is a means for people to change their home location on the internet, so they can be seen by others as from that location and access content from that location. For example, people from Australia use a VPN to access Netflix USA. TOR (The Onion Router) is a free software that enables anonymous communication by routing Internet traffic through a network of relays. It works by encrypting data and creating a series of interconnected tunnels that mask the origin and destination of the data, making it difficult to determine who is sending or receiving the data. Onion Gambling is available using bitcoin. It can also be used for dark web gambling. TOR enables children to gamble outside Australia.
It beggars belief that IP Address filters are seen as an effective way of blocking gambling. We contacted an offshore casino that is supposedly blocked from Australia. The casino advised us to use a VPN.
Children as young as twelve who do not watch television or radio are being counselled for gambling addiction. Many conduct their web activity using a VPN or TOR, so they do not see Australian content, including gambling harm information. Their online identity is also seen as non-Australian. GamBlock® is an Australian software that blocks gambling sites, irrespective of online virtual location or identity.
Australian media companies produce stories about land-based casino penalties. Physical casinos are a poor cousin to the many online casinos. Many Australian parents would love to see a local media story about the extent of child online offshore gambling rather the same old reports into the pokies, Crown and Star.
Some media even talk about gambling moving online, which started happening over twenty years ago. The main change over the last few years is the inordinate numbers of underage children – Australian and foreign - gambling online and the normalisation of the habit.
Offshore online gambling sites do not report how much money is lost offshore by Australian children, nor does there seem to any framework in place to hold them accountable.
Political parties argue about the cost of living. In my opinion, if the amount of gambled money that GamBlock® sees going offshore was spent in Australia, all parties would have more money to implement their plans. The same could be said for many other countries.
Many countries around the world use the phrase "gamble responsibly", including the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. For Australian children who gamble online in these countries, the term "gamble responsibly" will not be relevant to them as children are not equipped to "gamble responsibly". By the time they have become desperate gamblers, people of all ages cannot gamble “responsibly". For these people the term "gamble responsibly" is an oxymoron.
While the gambling lobby may have to disclose some information to the public in Australia, this is irrelevant when Australian children gamble offshore where Russian3 and other oligarchs4 reside online, who are not subject to regulation.
In 2000, GamBlock® contacted all the major parties with the solution to online gambling and received an indifferent response. Now, more than ever, with the increasing rate of child suicide, it is my hope that the current parliament will work with us to stop children gambling. In the meantime, we stand ready to work with anyone not funded by gambling, while we help parents one by one.
About the Author David Warr
I have been helping parents and children harmed by gambling since 2000.
It is my hope that the political will to help children and families harmed by gambling will eventuate soon.