The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) of the Australian state of Victoria has called for stricter regulations on gambling advertising.
The public body has recommended that its state government align with South Australia’s policy, which bans gambling adverts on TV from 4pm to 7:30pm. The recommendation forms part of the PAEC report, following an eight-month review of three Auditor-General reports, focuses on gambling and liquor regulation in Victoria.
The report, with 96 findings and 61 recommendations, was influenced by public submissions, hearings, site visits, and a youth roundtable.
“Our report’s 96 findings and 61 recommendations have been informed by 54 public submissions, three days of public hearings, a Geelong site visit and a youth roundtable,” commented Committee Chair Sarah Connolly.
The report cited a 2021 Australian Communications and Media Authority-commissioned study that found an “average of 948 gambling ads were broadcast daily on free-to-air TV and an average of 148 gambling ads were broadcast between 6.00pm–8.30pm every weeknight”.
In addition, the report stated that “between May 2022 and April 2023, more than one million gambling ads aired on free-to-air television and radio across Australia, the ‘clear majority’ being from online wagering companies”.
Connolly noted: “More appropriate regulations and safeguards are needed to protect Victorians, especially our children and young people.”
A group of young people who shared their lived experiences with gambling and alcohol during an event at Parliament House in August were also present in Parliament for the tabling of the report earlier this week.
The report has also asked the government to consider reducing the total number of electronic gaming machines across the state and updating the gambling and alcohol-related harms education resources for students.
The PAEC has also recommended that any venue that wishes to increase the number of EGMs it has must prove that it will provide a “net economic and social benefit” to the community.
It has also been recommended that the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission establish a regular consultation with the local government regarding the current gambling regulations in the state and any measures that could be taken to reduce gambling harm.
The Victorian government has been asked to review daily, weekly and annual gambling loss limits as well, including examining frameworks present in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Tasmania.