SBC News Labor Party calls for AUS blanket ban on gambling ads 

Labor Party calls for AUS blanket ban on gambling ads 

Australia’s governing Labor Party has outlined its support for a blanket ban on gambling advertising, stating that the country should not accept “another generation experiencing escalating gambling harms”. 

Labor MPs have backed the findings of a parliamentary inquiry recommending a “ban on ads for online gambling across all media, to be implemented within a three-year period”.

The inquiry follows months of debate on betting ads’ exposure to the public, including calls from the prime minister and opposition leader for a ban on ads during sports broadcasts.

Titled “You win some, you lose more”, the inquiry makes 31 recommendations, of which a ‘phased ban approach’ on online gambling advertising is recognised as the most consequential to protecting vulnerable audiences.

The ban would be implemented in four phases over three years, beginning with prohibiting inducements and social media/online platform ads, then progressing to a veto on all online gambling advertising during sports broadcasts and in stadiums, before banning broadcast ads during certain hours, and finally leading to a total prohibition of all online gambling advertising and sponsorship.

The phased approach is backed by Labor MP Peta Murphy, Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee, as it will “give major sports and broadcasters time to find alternative advertisers and sponsors, while preventing another generation from experiencing escalating gambling harm”.

Further recommendations call for the government to sanction a “national strategy to reduce gambling harms”, which should impose a ‘Harms Levy’ on operators, mirroring recent UK gambling reforms.

Funds from the Harms Levy would be used to fund a public education campaign across schools and universities, and to support relevant organisations with independent research on harm prevention and treatment support for gambling addiction.

The government is recommended to take a tougher crackdown on illegal gambling websites, whilst implementing stronger consumer protections and identity verification before accepting bets, a ban on inducements, and a legislated duty of care. These should be overseen by a dedicated consumer Ombudsman.

Of significance, the inquiry noted that Australia’s healthcare system needed to improve its access to specialised treatment support for those experiencing gambling harms.

Meanwhile on youth protections, the government was advised to implement a ‘new classification’ to warn consumers of risks on social gaming and loot box features in games.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland (Labor) confirmed the government will consider all recommendations made by the inquiry into minimising gambling harms.

The government has previously implemented harm-minimization measures including a ban on credit card transactions to wager, and has committed to launch a national self-exclusion scheme. However, Rowland outlined that Labor would take a tougher approach than predecessors on regulating gambling advertising.  

TV broadcasters have lobbied against a blanket ban on gambling advertising, stating that they have lowered the volume of betting ads and focused on promoting safer gambling messages to the public.  

Australia’s Conservative and Liberal Party MPs have called on the government to find a resolution on gambling advertising in 2023.

In May, PM Anthony Albanese told Guardian Australia he finds the barrage of betting advertisements during sporting matches “annoying” but did not outline his preferred policy solution, instead waiting for the review.

SBC News Labor Party calls for AUS blanket ban on gambling ads 

 

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