More than 80,000 people descended on Victoria’s Flemington Racecourse for Melbourne Cup Day with a million more tuning in from home and work.
But not everyone was celebrating the “race that stops a nation” with risky gambling, animal welfare, spikes in family violence, and alcohol abuse just some of the concerns raised each year.
Held annually on the first Tuesday of November for more than a century, the Melbourne Cup is also the biggest one-day gambling event in the country, with a large chunk of the race gambling revenue coming from problem gamblers.
For many young people the Melbourne Cup will be there first foray into gambling with gambling researchers worried that the level of promotion of gambling services during the carnival aids in normalising it in the community.
Mixing alcohol with gambling can be a risky combination and result in unhealthy gambling behaviour. For some, that means drinking more when gambling, while for others, it might mean excessive gambling when drinking.
Ashley Gordon from NSW Aboriginal Safe Gambling services says there needs to be more education around responsible gambling.
“It’s a time when we need to reflect as a country how much horseracing, betting, and gambling has been pitched as part of our culture… I just think, sadly, too many people at this point in time may not be able to afford it and might gamble too much.” Mr Gordon said.