IS it too easy to have a flutter on the horses in Ballarat?
The number of TAB outlets in Ballarat has grown sharply this year, concerning anti-gambling campaigners.
There are now 18 TABs in Ballarat, all of which are within 10 kilometres of the centre of the city.
The Courier last year highlighted how many TAB venues were readily available in the city, making it easier than ever before to place a bet.
Three additional betting outlets have since been installed — North Ballarat Sports Club, Midlands Golf Club and Ballarat Leagues Club.
The Midlands TAB was installed just this week.
The Ballarat Leagues Club betting venue has been established just 200 metres from the existing Bakery Hill TAB outlet, and also falls within one kilometre of JD’s Sports Bar.
In the Sebastopol/Redan area, four TABs are located within three kilometres of each other — the Globe Hotel, Ballarat and District Trotting Club, Bunch of Grapes Hotel and the Western Hotel.
Relationships Australia Ballarat manager Sue Yorston said the ever-increasing amount of TABs was of great concern in Ballarat.
She said a large portion of gambling addictions, particularly online gambling, stemmed directly from TAB outlets.
“There is not a high level of direct problems with TAB betting, but what we do know is that if often leads to further problems,” said Ms Yorston.
“A lot of people, particularly young males, become interested in gambling because of these places.
“With the world of online gambling so readily available, it becomes easier for people to keep the habit alive.”
Ms Yorston said there was an obvious problem in Ballarat, evidenced by the fact Tabcorp continued to successfully introduce more betting venues.
“They don’t keep popping up because they are a community service,” she said.
“ It is a business decision and there is obviously a business opportunity there.”
A Tabcorp spokesperson said the amount of TAB outlets was in line with other similarly sized cities and was dictated by market needs.”
“Many people in Ballarat enjoy their sport and racing,” he said in a statement.
“TAB facilities in the area reflect demand by consumers, as well as demand by hotels and clubs to have a TAB offer.”