Australia can ban gambling ads within three years of the investigation report

The federal government, which is not required to implement the committee’s recommendations, is expected to face significant pressure from the country’s largest sports codes and media companies not to adopt them.

Instinctive moves

Bridget Fair, CEO of Free TV Australia, which acts on behalf of networks Seven, Nine (the owner of this masthead) and Ten, said Wednesday that the proposed ban was based on a mistaken premise that the advertising market was something of a magic pudding, warning that falling advertising revenue would mean less funding for Australian TV content.

While we appreciate that there are concerns in the community regarding the volume of gambling ads, knee-jerk moves to implement outright bans will ultimately hurt viewers and the TV services they love, he said.

These services are available to all Australians, regardless of where they live or how much they earn, and are only possible through advertising revenue.

Fair said the networks were willing to work constructively with the government on measures to reduce gambling advertising while ensuring the quality of their content was not affected.


Meanwhile, Responsible Wagering Australia, which represents some of the country’s biggest bookmakers, including Sportsbet and Entain, said limiting advertising to regulated betting providers would only prompt those at risk of gambling harm to seek out unregulated bookmakers. that they won’t abide by the rules.

The government has faced months of pressure on its gambling policies and wanted the committee to wrap up its work so it could announce new measures to reduce gambling advertising spending.

The nine-person committee included representatives from the Labor, Liberal and National parties, as well as independent representatives.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has faced calls for her resignation from anti-gambling advocates and Progressive MPs who want an advertising ban after this outlet revealed that Sportsbet has made significant financial contributions to her election campaign.

Turn of the screw

The government has signaled a crackdown on gambling ads, polls for which are unpopular with voters. As Labor spent months awaiting the committees’ report, the coalition got ahead of the government by announcing it would ban advertising around sporting events.

The measure proved to be one of Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s most popular political announcements, and the opposition has sought to use the issue to embarrass Labor in Parliament by increasing political pressure on a harm reduction issue that normally would attract less attention from the market. opposition oriented towards the more interventionist Labor Party.

The government is expected to move quickly to respond to the findings of the investigations and announce new policies.

The leading cause of gambling harm in Australia is poker machines, the majority of problem gamblers in treatment have addictions related to the machines. But many gambling harm experts say gambling ads of any kind can encourage young people and those with existing gambling problems to seek out bets when they otherwise would abstain.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Earlier this year, in its online gambling harms hearings, Tabcorp backed up a ban on TV advertising, with CEO Adam Rytenskild dubbing it a line in sand time for the industry.

While rivals have accused Tabcorp of taking this stance to protect its market share, they admit the public is against the proliferation of betting ads.

In gambling advertising figures, millions of dollars are not accounted for through sponsorship of stadiums, sports clubs and sports competitions, as well as podcasts. When these figures are considered, the advertising sources estimate that the total amount spent by the betting industry exceeds $600 million annually.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland welcomed the report presented on Wednesday and said the government would now look into the committee’s 31 recommendations.

The government will now review the report and its recommendations in full and in consultation with key stakeholders, before outlining reform proposals.

Coalition communications spokesman David Coleman noted that the inquiry recommended similar policies to the opposition and said the coalition would consider any legislation Rowland proposes.

Independent MP Zoe Daniel, who has campaigned for a blanket ban, said: As the committee has recognized the extent of the problem, the government should act now and ban all gambling advertising wherever it appears first. legally possible.

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