Online gambling inquiry on the cards

Online gambling inquiry on the cards

Online betting will be put under the microscope as a parliamentary inquiry targets its impact on people with gambling problems.

The House of Representatives' social policy and legal affairs committee is calling for submissions from interested parties, particularly recommendations on improving consumer protections aimed at reducing problem gambling.

It will also look at how effective advertising restrictions are at preventing children from being exposed to gambling products.

The inquiry comes as calls grow louder for something to be done about the slew of gambling advertisements shown during live sports broadcasts, often in prime-time television slots.

Labor MP Peta Murphy said the committee was particularly worried about the effects of the advertisements on young people.

"The inquiry will be a fresh look at online gambling and whether current laws, regulations, consumer protections and education and support programs are enough to reduce harm to gamblers," the committee chair said.

"The committee is concerned about the increasing reach of online gambling platforms into Australians' lives, the exposure of children and young people to gambling advertising, and how this may contribute to increases in problem gambling in the future."

Other issues to be examined include how current laws hold up in light of new technologies, payment options and betting products.

The effectiveness of counselling and the quality of online gambling education programs are included in the terms of reference.

Independent MP Kate Chaney, who sits on the committee, said she had heard heartbreaking stories of loss from her West Australian electorate of Curtin.

"An immediate priority should be reducing children's access to online gambling advertising," she said, noting a gambling ad is shown every two minutes on free-to-air TV.

"We are conditioning our kids to think gambling is normal.

"I'm pleased the terms of reference include reviewing the effectiveness of advertising restrictions on children's exposure to gambling products."

Ms Chaney said sporting bodies and media outlets had come to rely on the revenue from gambling advertising, but this should not be a barrier to reform.

Liberal MP David Coleman said while a number of regulations had been put in place under the coalition government, the issue was worthy of further work.

"If you go to the NRL website today and you look up information about tomorrow night's final between the Parramatta Eels and the Canberra Raiders, it says Parramatta Eels $1.50 versus Canberra Raiders $2.60 - before you even get to the list of who is in the team," he told the ABC.

"If you are a 10-year-old kid in Canberra ... that is the message you get."