Online gambling advertising ban should be considered by parliament: David Littleproud
Littleproud calls for tougher crackdown on online gambling advertising during sports broadcasts
Nationals leader David Littleproud has urged the federal parliament to consider if there should be a total ban on gambling ads during sports broadcasts, saying more could be done to protect children from exposure to online betting.
In a move that was broadly welcomed by harm-minimisation advocates, the Albanese government announced this week that the “gamble responsibly” tagline would be ditched from online betting ads, apps and websites in favour of new taglines that prompt gamblers to consider the consequences of losing a bet.
Littleproud backed the tagline changes but said they didn’t go far enough in protecting children from watching high-saturation gambling advertising during sports broadcasts.
“I believe changes to gambling ads don’t go far enough,” Littleproud said on Thursday.
“We need to have a conversation about whether or not gambling ads should be on at all – especially given that children are often watching sport, or families are together to support their favourite team when the betting ads come on.
“Children are exposed to gambling ads as soon as they start watching sport on television or online and that’s often from a very young age.”
He called for public debate on this issue to be steered by the parliament’s standing committee on social policy, which is holding an inquiry into online gambling and its impact on problem gamblers and children.
The inquiry, led by Labor MP Peta Murphy, will examine the effectiveness of current online gambling regulations and advertising restrictions, including advertising on social media and through sponsorship or branding.
The introduction of new taglines - which include “chances are you’re about to lose”, and “What’s gambling really costing you?” - has reignited a debate this week about the normalisation of gambling in sport.
A Resolve Political Monitor survey of 1611 eligible voters, conducted exclusively for this masthead, found that 62 per cent supported a ban on gambling and betting companies sponsoring sports, while only 27 per cent wanted to ban coal, oil and gas companies from sports sponsorship.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said she was eager to work with her states and territory counterparts to determine what next steps governments could take to minimise harm, and said her views would be informed by the parliamentary inquiry.
“What I wanted to be done is [for it to be] grounded in good evidence and good research,” she said.
“This area of online wagering has changed very quickly. Australia has one of the highest per capita losses in the OECD so it’s an area that we can’t not put our attention on.”
In addition to the new gambling taglines, Rishworth said the government was aiming to have the new national self-exclusion register for online gambling, called BetStop, in place by the end of the month.
The register will allow people to exclude themselves from all online betting services in a single step, requiring companies to close their betting accounts and prohibiting them from opening new accounts or sending them marketing messages.
Online betting companies are already required to comply with some advertising restrictions, including laws that forbid gambling advertising or promotion of odds from five minutes before the scheduled start of play until five minutes after play.
Gambling ads are also not permitted between 5am and 8.30pm during programs principally directed to children.
But harm-minimisation advocates point out this has done little to curb the volume and intensity of ads broadcast on free-to-air TV, with research commissioned by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation showing there were an average of 948 gambling ads broadcast daily in Victoria in 2021.