Push to ban online gambling ads

All ads for online gambling should be banned within three years, a parliamentary inquiry has recommended in a crackdown on an industry accused of “manipulating an impressionable and vulnerable audience”.

Jun 28, 2023, updated Aug 22, 2023
Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

Among the committee’s 31 recommendations was a plan to phase out online gambling ads over a three-year period, eventually banning the advertisements across all forms of media.

The first stage of the plan would prohibit online gambling ads during school pick-up and drop-off periods, as well as remove exemptions for the ads during news and current affairs broadcasting.

The ads would then be banned during sports broadcasts as well as one hour either side of matches, with further restrictions on in-stadium advertising, including ads on players’ uniforms.

A ban between 6am and 10pm would then be implemented, before a total prohibition of the advertisements at the end of the three-year period.

Ads on dedicated racing channels would be exempt under the proposal.

Other recommendations put forward in the report include a national strategy for online gambling harm reduction, a public education campaign, a requirement for gamblers to have their identities verified prior to wagering, and a harm reduction levy.

The inquiry’s chair, Labor MP Peta Murphy, said online gambling harm needs to be treated as a public health issue.

“Australians lose the most to online gambling because we have a weak and fragmented regulatory framework, which places all the onus for reducing harm onto the person who gambles,” she said.

“Gambling advertising is grooming children and young people to gamble and encourages riskier behaviour. The torrent of advertising is inescapable.”

The report follows a debate in federal parliament on the best way to crack down on gambling advertising.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton used his budget reply speech last month to call for a ban on gambling ads during sports matches and one hour either side of broadcasts.

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Earlier this month, Liberal senator Sarah Henderson introduced a bill to the upper house to legislate the proposal.

Meanwhile, independent MP Zoe Daniel put forward a proposal for a total ban on gambling ads.

The government has said it would seek to implement reform following the outcome of the parliamentary inquiry.

-with AAP

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