Tuesday 23. August, 2016

Ministers Push to Ban Gambling Ads to Curb Increasing Sports Betting

Australian government ministers are upping their pressure on the government to curb gambling advertising as data shows that Australians lost almost $23 billion on gambling in the 2014-15 financial year.

Australians lost almost $815 million to sports betting, a 30 percent increase from the previous year, while losses to poker machines led at a loss of $11.6 billion, a 4.9 percent increase from the previous year. Losses to racing totalled almost $3 billion and to lotteries almost $2 billion.

According to Dr Charles Livingstone, gambling researcher at the School of Public Health at Monash University, the growth in sports betting is unparalleled in the history of gambling in Australia.

“I think this latest surge of growth is really directly attributable to the massive marketing and advertising campaigns that the online bookies have been engaging in in the last few years,” he said.

On Sunday, the Victorian government announced a proposal to ban sports betting on public transport and near schools in an effort to protect children from the proliferation of sports betting ads in the state. The minister for gambling and liquor regulation, Marlene Kairouz put forward the reforms.

“Gambling is not an integral part of sport,” said Ms Kairouz. “Kids should be talking about their favourite sporting teams, not the odds of that team winning.”

In addition, South Australian Senator and anti-gambling activist, Nick Xenophon, together with Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie are calling on the government to ban sports betting advertising during G-rated television times and for a maximum betting limit of $1 on poker machines.

Senator Xenophon called on the government to become serious about the issues, saying that “gambling is out of control and the regulations we have around the country are more about window dressing than anything else.”

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