As the release of the outcomes from an inquiry into online gambling and its effects on individuals with gambling issues approaches, the Australian government is facing mounting pressure to either ban or impose stricter regulations on gambling advertisements. This pressure highlights the growing concern surrounding the impact of such ads and the need for action by the government.
The Australian government is facing growing pressure to implement stricter regulations or even ban gambling advertisements, particularly in relation to live sports broadcasts. An ongoing inquiry led by Labor MP Peta Murphy has already presented evidence highlighting the harmful impact of gambling ads. The recommendations expected to be released this week will likely support tighter regulations, a sentiment shared by both the government and the opposition.
While a complete ban may not be imminent, Tim Costello, head of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, has emphasized the potential for collaboration between the government and opposition to reduce the overwhelming presence of gambling ads. Costello draws a parallel with the successful ban on tobacco advertising, suggesting that prohibiting gambling ads should be the ultimate objective.
Gambling researcher Charles Livingstone, who provided testimony during the inquiry, recommends a gradual phasing out of advertising over time. He suggests offering financial support to sports and broadcasters to address their concerns while making betting limits mandatory instead of voluntary.
Samantha Thomas, a gambling and health researcher at Deakin University, urges the government to view wagering as a public health issue and involve the health department more actively. To effectively safeguard young people from gambling promotions, Thomas asserts that comprehensive marketing bans are necessary.
In its first term, the Albanese government has already taken some steps to address the issue, such as implementing a ban on credit card use for online gambling and updating warning slogans in advertisements to replace the “gamble responsibly” tagline.
As the outcomes of the inquiry are awaited, the pressure on the government to address gambling advertisements intensifies, with a focus on striking a balance between protecting vulnerable individuals and addressing concerns raised by stakeholders in the industry.