A BAN on online gambling advertising would protect children from gambling harm, Dunkley MP Peta Murphy says.
Murphy is the chair of the House of Representatives standing committee on social policy and legal affairs. The committee released a report on its inquiry into online gambling last week.
The report recommended that online gambling advertising be phased out over the next three years. It also contained 30 other recommendations to curb the negative effects of online gambling.
Murphy said that reform was needed to protect children from the risk of gambling harm. “Gambling advertising and simulated gambling through video games, is grooming children and young people to gamble and encourages riskier behaviour. The torrent of advertising is inescapable. It is manipulating an impressionable and vulnerable audience to gamble online,” she said. “Australians are the biggest losers in the world when it comes to gambling. We have a culture where sport and gambling are intrinsically linked. These behaviours are causing increasingly widespread and serious harm to individuals, families, and communities.
“A phased, comprehensive ban on online gambling advertising is recommended within three years. This will give major sports and broadcasters time to find alternative advertisers and sponsors, while preventing another generation from experiencing escalating gambling harm. The committee has also recommended stronger consumer protections for licenced online gambling, including a requirement for wagering service providers to verify their customer’s identity before accepting bets from them, a ban on inducements and a legislated duty of care. We have also called for a crackdown on illegal gambling websites.”
Alliance for Gambling Reform chief advocate Tim Costello says that the report should lead to the establishment of a national strategy to combat gambling harm and an online gambling regulator and ombudsman. “There is absolutely a need for a national strategy to combat the profound gambling harm that is being wrought in communities across Australia. Each year gambling rips $25 billion in losses out of our communities,” he said. “The harm is profound, individuals, families and communities are devastated. And the harm is not just financial, this is a major public health issue that causes devastating harm to people’s health and in many cases it leads to people taking their own lives.”
Although the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission does not measure losses to online gambling, it does reveal that punters in the Frankston municipality have lost more than $62 million on electronic gaming machines since July 2022.