Australia Debates Potential Ban on Gambling Ads

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Intense Discussions Around Gambling Advertising Ban in Australia

In Australia, there is currently a heated debate about a possible ban on gambling advertising. Tim Costello, the head of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, warns of private negotiations that could influence the implementation of a comprehensive restriction on gambling advertising.

Private Conversations Behind Closed Doors

Michelle Rowland, the Minister for Communications, has held private talks with international broadcasters, internet companies, sports leagues, and gambling associations, along with her team. The discussions revolved around dealing with proposals for a complete ban on advertising associated with gambling. Costello points out that the participants may have felt threatened by the restriction, which may have prompted them to undertake covert actions to influence decision-makers.

Transparency in the Decision-Making Process

There are questions about the transparency of the decision-making process, as large gambling companies like Sportsbet, Crown, Betfair, Tabcorp, and others have participated in these private meetings. Costello emphasizes the need for openness in such discussions and raises questions about the accuracy of the information exchanged behind closed doors and the reasons for the participants’ statements.

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The Legacy of Peta Murphy and the Urgency of Action

Costello recalls the unexpected death of the head of the investigation, Minister Peta Murphy, who compiled a comprehensive report with 31 recommendations to combat the harmful effects of online gambling and advertising. However, the conversations revealed so far suggest possible concessions that could jeopardize Murphy’s plan to phase out casino advertising within three years.

Appeal to the Government

Costello highlights the enormous annual loss of over 25 billion dollars in Australia due to gambling-related harm and stresses the need to follow the findings of the bipartisan parliamentary investigation. He calls on the government to put public opinion before the lobbying pressure of the gambling industry and cites studies showing that more than 70% of people support a ban on gambling-related advertising.

Regulation of Gambling Advertising

Costello calls for immediate action to reduce the harm caused by gambling, particularly through strong regulation of advertising. He draws parallels with laws regulating alcohol and tobacco, arguing that gambling, given its harmful impact on society as a whole, should be subject to similar restrictions.

The future legal regulation of gambling will be shaped by the government’s response. Therefore, Costello emphasizes the importance of maintaining honesty in the decision-making process.

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