- »RWA: Recent iGaming Growth a Normal Market Response
RWA: Recent iGaming Growth a Normal Market Response
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down most gambling options for Australians, players turned to online casinos and betting websites. This seems a logical response. The closure of all nonessential businesses for several months left Aussies with little in the form of entertainment variety. Online gambling filled that gap.
However, lobbyists and other anti-gambling spokespeople immediately began looking at consumer credit data to show a surge in online gambling during the months of shutdown. When those analysts saw increases in igaming numbers, they reported about the wild surges. However, if they would have looked at the data logically, they could have seen that the online gambling simply replaced gambling at land-based establishments in most cases.
It was simply a transfer of gambling activity to online operators. And Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) wants people to know the truth.
What is RWA?
Responsible Wagering Australia is an independent organization that advocates for wagering service providers and operators licensed in Australia.
Formed in 2016, the RWA tries to ensure that Australia’s gambling industry as a whole is run fairly, with integrity and probity, and with social responsibility in mind. The group’s Code of Conduct ensures the members of RWA meet certain standards to accomplish the goals.
Some of the largest gambling operators in the Australian market comprise the RWA membership pool, including the following:
- GVC Australia, Ladbrokes, and Neds
- Bet Easy (now owned by The Stars Group)
Brent Jackson serves as the Chief Executive Officer of RWA, a position he took in March 2020. Nick Minchin is the Chairman, a position he claimed in February 2018.
Recent RWA Statement about Credit Data
Last week, the RWA issued a media statement that started by urging caution in using consumer credit data to interpret headline figures related to gambling spending, as they don’t give a full picture of gambling trends, especially during the pandemic.
CEO Jackson noted, “Historical consumer credit data is being used to create alarmist reports that gambling has surged during the COVID crisis.” He went on to explain that increases in online gambling during COVID don’t mean that all gambling increased. Credible sources do not support that assertion, nor do members of the industry.
Jackson said that many bettors migrated to online platforms with land-based gambling options out of service due to Covid-19 concerns. Additionally, he mentioned that this happened with most other retail industries during the shutdowns.
This is true, as people had to turn to ordering groceries and toiletries online, and they watched more movies at home than in theaters. If consumers could get wheat they wanted online, they did so. And many continue this out of an abundance of caution, even as some businesses reopen.
RWA’s primary concern with online gambling is that many bettors and gamblers, poker players and casino games players took to offshore sites for their entertainment. These sites are not licensed by the Australian government.
The bottom line of the RWA statement, however, was this: “Growth in online gambling has been a normal market response to a changing retail environment.”
Licenses Not Available
Interestingly, the RWA claimed that overseas betting websites “offer no consumer protections at all.”
That is not true.
Many online casinos for Australian players are licensed by a globally-recognized gambling regulator. And those regulators act as watchdogs for the sites and their operations, setting standards for those sites regarding everything from financial transactions to fair gameplay and random number generators.
Casino sites that we recommend to players all offer responsible gambling information and help. They also offer customers the ability to establish betting limits and set other parameters in order to gamble more responsibly.
Many of the online casino operators would prefer to obtain a license directly from Australia, but the government has chosen not to offer those licenses broadly.