The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has shared its position in the heated debate about the increased sports betting adverts in Australia, saying it was much concerned with the number of teenagers who gamble on the territory of the country.
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, UNICEF commented on the pledge of the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Government to impose a ban on gambling advertising at the time of sports events held between 5:00 AM and 8:30 PM. The international organisation demanded more serious measures to be taken and more extensive reforms must be made.
The organisation made a submission, saying that the policy issue related to sports betting advertising in the country had a massive impact on young individuals in Australia, despite the fact that local authorities had to consider great many factors, including various competing interests. However, according to UNICEF, the best interest of children was a matter of paramount priority that should be considered by the Parliament while determining the future restrictions’ scope and the implementation process.
UNICEF recommended that the scope of the ban should be widened to as late as 9:00 PM. In addition, the organisation said that an increase in civil penalties for possible breaches of the new legislation should be considered.
According to expectations, the ban on gambling advertising is set to be finalised by March 2018. For the time being, some of the Australian online bookmakers gave their support to the measure, saying that public concerns related to gabling advertising’s levels should be properly addressed.
Australian Government’s Gambling Advertising Crackdown
Back in May 2017, a ban on gaming advertisements during live sport emissions until 8:30 PM was announced by Prime Minister Turnbull. At the time when the ban was initially announced, the Government revealed that all sports broadcasts on TV and radio, except for racing, will be covered by suspension.
The crackdown imposed on betting advertising during live sporting coverage came as part of a larger media reforms package and was intended to be rolled out as a measure to protect young people from possible negative effects of gambling. The new restrictions banned gambling commercials from five minutes preceding the beginning of play to five minutes after the conclusion of play. The only exceptions were made for the lotteries and the racing industry.
At the time when the new restrictive measures towards gambling adverts were announced, anti-gambling campaigners insisted for for even stricter measures to be imposed in the country, saying that children should be able to watch televised sport events without being targeted by gambling operators’ commercials.
Nick Xenophon, a Senate crossbencher and an eager anti-gambling campaigner, said at the time that the measure was a good first step to begin with. However, he insisted that should not be the last measure in terms of gambling reform in Australia. Mr. Xenophon’s opinion was supported by Andrew Wilkie, an independent Member of Parliament. Mr. Wilkie commented that children were more vulnerable as they were susceptible to advertising, so gambling adverts could have a really unfavourable impact on young individuals.