Exploring Australian Gambling

Policy, Prevention and Treatment australian online casino
Australian Gambling
According to the independently verified Online Casino City (2011), the majority of
online gambling sites are for slots (electronic gaming machines [Eggs] in their various
configurations) (56%), followed by casino games (33%), poker (22%) and sports/race
books (19%), with bingo (16%), lotteries (4%) and skill games (2%) making up a smaller
proportion of sites. These figures are based on constant monitoring of online gambling
sites, which are classified based on the primary mode of gambling offered, as many sites
offer more than one type of gambling.

The number of sites is not always representative of
market share, as industry estimates suggest that betting (including sports, race, exotic
wagering and betting exchanges) lead the global Intemet gambling market, accounting for
39% of online gambling revenue (H2 Gambling Capital, 2011: Henwood, 2011). Casino
games (including slots) account for 26% of the online gambling market; followed by poker
(14%); lotteries (9%); bingo (8%); and skill-based and other gambling (4%; H2 Gambling
Capital, 2011; Holliday, 2010).
Of the 2313 Internet gambling sites available, 94% accept play from Australia and 90% accept play from Canada, despite the majority being located off shore and provided illegally by operators (Online Casino City, 2011). The sites are provided by 642 differentowners, located in 74 jurisdictions, with 27 based in Australia, and seven sites based in Canada (Online Casino City, 2011). The seven Canadian sites do not include sites located in Kahnawake, the world's fifth largest provider of online gambling sites, with 226 sites hosted in this territory located just south of Montreal.

Internet gambling revenues reportedly increased from approximately USS2.2 billion in 2000 to US$15.2 billion in 2006, and were predicted to reach USS24.5 billion by 2010 (Christiansen Capital Advisors, 2005, 2007). Accounting firm KPMG released a more recent report suggesting that the global online gambling market will grow about 42% from 2008 levels, to reach USS30 billion by 2012 (KPMG International, 2010). Increases in participation and expenditure have occurred in Canada where fewer than 1% of adults gambled online in 2004, which rose to 2.1% in 2007 (Wood & Williams, 2009). In 2010, a telephone survey of 1724 Canadian adults found that 8% had gambled online in the past year and 3% played once a month or more (Ipsos Reid. 2010). According to recent estimates, Canadians purportedly spend CADSI billion per year gambling online, mostly on privately owned sites ('Casinos worry", 2010).
Playing in a casino is more expensive than playing in a private game. Some casinos charge an entrance and membership fee. They also make a charge for the use of their services. Often thischarge is hidden by adjusting the odds paid out for winningbets. By paying out winning bets at a rate lower than the true odds of winning, the casino is able to make a profit. In some games, the charge is more obvious. With card room poker games this charge is in the form of a commission, which is usually a percentage of the pot. This charge is called the rake and is typically 10 per cent of the pot. Other casinos may charge an hourly rate for the use of their facilities.

The level of house advantage varies between different gamesand different casinos. For example, different versions of roulette have a different house advantage. With single-zero roulette it is
2.7 per cent and with double-zero roulette it is 5.26 per cent. In some countries, casino winnings are taxable. In the United States, for example, there is a 30 per cent tax on winnings. Non-resident aliens from some countries can apply for exemption. Itis best to check the local legislation before betting as you could get a big shock when your tax bill arrives.

Tricks casinos use to encourage you to spend
more money

Casinos employ lots of subtle methods to get as much money as possible from you. They attempt to keep you on the premises for longer and to make you bet more. These methods include:
  • giving free chips
  • using car jockeys to park your car
  • having no clocks or external windows in the gambling area
  • using plastic chips instead of money
  • supplying free refreshments
  • ensuring you walk past amusement machines
  • stepping up the stakes
  • operating the games at a fast pace
  • engaging your curiosity
  • using specially formulated smells
Casinos will often give you some free chips when you initially enter the premises. This is to get you into the habit of betting.
As soon as you have lost these chips, you are more likely to buy some more to try to recoup your losses.
Car jockeys
By employing car jockeys, casinos can ensure you spend more time in the casino. Why make you spend 15 minutes finding a parking space when you could spend that time gambling?
No clocks or exterior windows
It is common practice not to have any clocks or exterior windows in the gaming rooms. This ensures that you lose track of time.
Using plastic chips
By using plastic chips the casino takes away the association you have with money. If you see banknotes, you can judge their value. A pile of chips looks worthless.
Free refreshments
Free refreshments are often supplied to keep you in the casino. The longer you stay on the premises, the more money you are likely to gamble. In addition, alcohol lowers your inhibitions making you less likely to care if you are losing. It also affects your ability to concentrate, which means you take longer to make decisions that affect your playing of the game.
Amusement machines
These will be strategically placed to ensure that you have to walk past them before leaving the casino. Their flashing lights, loud noises and bright colours are designed to attract your attention. You may have lost all your banknotes on the tables but the casino operators know that you may still have a pocket
full of change. However, for the serious gambler they are not worth playing as the returns are poor. The house advantage can be as high as 15 or 20 per cent.
Stepping up
Stepping up is a technique that casinos use to make you bet higher stakes. If you have a big win, they will start paying you out with stacks of higher denomination chips. Supposing you were betting with £5 chips, they will start paying your winnings with stacks of f25 chips. This effectively increases your stakes fivefold. This way they ensure you lose your winnings more quickly.

Fast-paced games
Games are played at a fast pace. This allows you little time to think before placing your next bets. The casino takes in the maximum amount of money in the shortest possible time. There is hardly time in between games to count your chips to see how
well or badly you are doing. On American roulette, there is on average one spin a minute.

Engaging your curiosity

As players wander around the casino they pass by empty roulettetables. The dealer will spin the ball. Out of curiosity, most players stop and watch to see where the ball will land. With a captive audience the dealer will spin again. The spectators will soon be tempted to play.

Betting with cash

Some casinos allow players to bet by placing money directly on the layout. The dealer will usually exchange the money for a marker.

Using smelis

Some casinos have also experimented with filling the casino with scientifically developed smells. They have found that particular smells can make players spend more money.

The chips

Instead of playing with money, you purchase plastic chips. There are two types of chip in a casino - cash chips and table chips. Cash chips are a general currency that can be used on any of the games.

You can exchange your money for chips either at the or on one of the gaming tables. Dealers are not allowed to take anything from a player's hand, so you simply place the money in front of you on the table and inform the dealer that you want to buy some chips. Don't put the money on the layout, where the bets are placed, as some casinos accept bets in cash and may assume that you are placing a bet.

Table chips are found on games like roulette. Each roulette table has its own set of coloured chips. Each player will be given different coloured chips so that their bets can be easily recognized. They can only be used on the table you have purchased them from. When you leave the table, any remaining table chips should be given to the dealer who will exchange them for cash chips. It is always best to play with table chips on roulette because if two players are betting with cash chips disputes can arise over whose bet is on the winning number.

The value of table chips is automatically the minimum bet on that table. If a player wants them to have a higher value. this will be agreed with the dealer. The dealer will then mark those chips at the higher amount. Typically, round amounts are used - €5, €10, €25, £100 and £400.

When you have finished playing, you take your cash chips to the cashpoint where they will be exchanged echeque.

Selecting a casino

The amount you have budgeted for will largely determine the sort of casino you frequent. The minimum stakes for betting can vary quite considerably in different casinos. Generally, the more upmarket the club, the higher the stakes will be. You will
therefore need to consider how many chips of the minimum stake your budget will purchase and how long they will last.

If you are playing for high stakes you will have more choice and can look for the best facilities. The more upmarket casinos provide private rooms for games. This facility allows high-staking customers to play in quieter surroundings.

On roulette, in a casino with a £5 minimum bet, a budget of f100 will buy you 20 chips. With one spin a minute on American roulette, your money may last only 20 minutes. You will also have a limited choice of tables to play on. There may only be one or two tables where you can play the minimum bets and the low-stake tables are always the most crowded in the casino. You may have a long wait before you can get a seat and you will often have to push your way through the other players just to get your bets on. If, however, you play in a casino with a 50p minimum, f100 will buy you 200 chips, so by betting one chip a spin you can play for over 3 hours. If the 50p table is particularly busy, you will still be able to play for over 14/2 hours on a f1 table.
The minimum stake on many games is low. You should be able to find somewhere to play to suit your budget. You don't have to be a high roller to go to a casino. Most casinos have plenty of low-stake tables.
Do not aim too high when you are still learning. Even if your budget allows you to play in the more expensive games, stick initially to the cheaper games and gradually work your way up. Remember, the higher the stakes, the better the players.

Understanding the odds

For a gambler the term 'odds' has two different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used.
Chances of winning or losing
Before making a bet you will want to know your chances of winning or losing. In this context the 'odds' is a comparison of the chances of winning and losing and is expressed as a ratio. For example, two to one. A shorter way of writing the odds is to put a slash between the two numbers, so two to one becomes 2/1.

Consider the tossing of a coin. There are two possible outcomes - the coin could land on either heads or tails. Suppose two people, we'll call them A and B, decided to bet on the tossing of a coin. A predicts it will land on heads and B thinks it will land on tails. They each bet f10 and agree that the person who correctly predicts the outcome wins the money.

The coin lands on heads so A wins a total of 20 ($10 from B and the f10 he staked) and B loses $10. A has made a f10 profit and B has made a £10 loss. This is gambling in its simplest form. The amount of money that each player risked was f10. This is called the stake. For A, there was one chance that he would lose
and one chance that he would win. As a ratio this is 1/1 or odds of one to one. Where the odds are 1/1, it is called evens or even money.

This can be applied to any game to find the chances of winning. Suppose A and B were to bet on the throwing of a six-sided die. Here there are six possible outcomes. Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 could be thrown. If A were to bet on throwing a 6, he would have five chances of losing and only one chance of winning (if
he threw a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 he would lose). The odds against him winning would be 5/1 (five to one).
To calculate the odds in any game, you need to work out how many chances you have of winning and how many of losing.

Winnings compared with stakes

The term 'odds' is also applied to the ratio of winnings compared with stakes.
In the coin tossing example, A had the chance of winning f10 for a f10 stake. Expressed as a ratio this is 10/10 or 1/1 (even money). Here, the odds against winning are the same as the odds paid. In other words, the true mathematical odds are being paid.

Some odds are printed directly on the betting layout, for example, on blackjack tables 'Insurance, pays 2 to 1' and on dice tables 'Any craps 7 to 1'. These are only some of the bets that can be played - for most games there is a huge variety of bets, all paying different odds. Either on the table, hanging over it or close by there will be a list of all the odds for that particular game. It gives the name of the bet and the odds paid.

The odds are quoted as two numbers like two to one and eight to one. The number on the left of the odds is the amount won if the number on the right is staked. So for odds of two to one, if one chip is staked two chips will be won. The player also keepsthe stake so in total three chips will be won. For odds of three
to two, if one chip is staked one and a half chips will be won and the player keeps the stake. Total winnings are two and a half chips. For a five-chip bet on odds of two to one, you simply multiply the odds by five; so two to one becomes ten to five. For a five-chip bet ten chips are won and the player keeps the stake,
giving a total winnings of 15 chips.
House advantage
With single-zero roulette, the odds paid for a bet on en plein (one number) are 35/1.
However, the true odds are 36/1. So, for each spin the casino has one number working in its favour. The
house advantage is 2.7 per cent of the stakes. So for every $37 that you bet, the casino is raking off f1.

The casino comes off even better if the player bets on a roulette wheel with two zeros. Now, there are 38 numbers but the odds paid are the same for a winning number (35/1). If a player bets a chip on every number, the casino wins two chips on every spin. By adding an extra zero the casino effectively doubles its profits.

The house advantage varies between different games and casinos. With games like dice/craps, the type of bet can have a huge impact on the house advantage. Some bets cut the house advantage to under 1 per cent whereas others give the house a massive 16.67 per cent.

The house advantage for different games varies. For some games, like blackjack, an average is quoted as the house advantage changes throughout the game.

Before you place a bet find out the house advantage, not just for the game as a whole but also for the individual bets. Some bets are simply not worth playing because you are at such a huge disadvantage.
On some games the casino pays true odds on some of the bets, for example, dice and punto banco. However, they charge a commission, which is a percentage of the stake or sometimes a percentage of the winnings.
Games of chance and games of skill
Casinos offer a wide choice of games. Some are games of skill where the player can affect the outcome and others are games of chance where players are relying on luck. In general, games where the player has no input are games of chance. These include roulette, big six wheel, straight slots and punto banco. Games like poker and blackjack offer players the opportunity to use skill to win. Here players make all the decisions about
taking cards. A good knowledge of the game can make the difference between winning and losing.
Finding your game
It is a good idea to try playing a variety of games. Decide which game you like the most and, once you have selected your favourite, concentrate solely on that game. Try to watch as many games as possible - you can learn a great deal by watching experienced players. If someone is winning, try to determine why. Are they just lucky or are they using a particular strategy. Are their stakes varied or constant? What do they do when they
lose - do they increase or decrease stakes?
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