Australian Government Faces Criticism for Failing to Implement Gambling Ad Ban

Rebekha Sharkie Australian MPs have criticised the Albanese government’s slow progress toward implementing proposals introduced by the late Peta Murthy last year that aim to address the harm caused by online gambling ads. The said proposals are a part of the “You win some, you lose more” report, and among the most crucial recommendations is a plan that would, over the course of three years, lead to the blanket prohibition of the promotion of gambling in Australia.

As reported by Andrew Brown for the Australian Associated Press (AAP), MP and representative of the Division of Mayo Rebekha Sharkie described the prime minister’s approach toward the issue, namely his lack of action, as “embarrassing.” According to Ms Sharkie, the past twelve months have been characterised by very little conversation and action regarding the gambling industry and the promotions tied to it, even though the sector has been “grooming children and young people” by collaborating with Australian sports organisations. She further stressed that it is presumed seven-out-of-10 Australians are in favour of gambling regulation improvements and the prohibition of ads associated with gambling, and she called for the immediate adoption of the ban.

Another person to express disappointment in the government’s inaction was MP Andrew Wilkie, who said that it was “entirely unacceptable” that a year has passed since the gambling harm report was first presented to the government, yet a proper response has not yet been issued. “It’s way beyond time the government stopped kowtowing to the gambling industry,” he argued, continuing on to say that what should be prioritised is protecting Australian society from an industry he deemed predatory.

The Ban Might Have Negative Consequences

Anthony Albanese While the Albanese government assured that work is being done to assess each of the 30+ recommendations. Andrew Brown of the AAP reported that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese responded to the criticisms by saying that while the government did recognise the need to do more regarding gambling, it was also necessary to ensure that the issue was tackled properly and with the input of relevant stakeholders. Examples of the said stakeholders include harm reduction advocates, according to the minister.

The government’s hesitance to accelerate the implementation of the measures might, in part, be attributed to the feedback given by Australian sports organisations, broadcasters, as well as representatives of the gambling industry. A number of companies have warned that the blanket ban could cause significant harm to TV channels and other broadcasters that focus on sports. Last year, Bridget Fair, who is at the helm of Free TV Australia, also noted that any potential bans should be accompanied by the abolishment of outdated spectrum fees.

Kai Cantwell, serving as the CEO of Responsible Wagering Australia, was also less than pleased with the potential ban in 2023. He highlighted the risk of pushing Aussie bettors toward illegal markets and proposed for frequency caps to be implemented instead. Mr Cantwell empasized said alternative could serve to address the concerns of gambling reform advocates as well as ensure that broadcasters and sports clubs continue enjoying the financial support that the wagering industry can provide.

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Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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