Ban on gambling ads a certain winner, say MPs

This story by Kat Wong first appeared in The Canberra Times on 28th November 2023.

The gambling industry is not worried about growing calls for regulation because of its cosy relationship with the government, independent MPs have alleged.

A parliamentary committee handed down a report in June that made 31 recommendations on how the government should address the dangers of online gambling.

The gambling sector held a two-day conference in response, where speakers brushed off the report, according to a participant who took notes of the proceedings.

Independent MPs Zoe Daniel and Kate Chaney have called on the government to crack down on the industry by imposing a complete ban on gambling advertisements.

“The gambling industry is pretty confident that its $9 million of political donations over the last 20 years and its close relationships with the government will mean the government prioritises the gambling industry,” Ms Daniel told reporters on Tuesday.

“It’s up to the government to now show that it will choose to act in the interests of community, not in the interests of the powerful gambling companies, media and sports codes who stand to benefit from the misery created by gambling.”

Chief advocate of Alliance for Gambling Reform Tim Costello said Australians were sick of the gambling sector “grooming” their children with advertisements.

“Eighty per cent of 10 year olds know the logo, the jingles, the odds – imagine if 80 per cent of 10 year olds knew the difference between Peter Jacksons and Marlboros,” he said.

The government should take a whole-hearted approach to gambling regulation, like it did with tobacco, rather than take half-measures, he said.

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