Lack of action to ban gambling ads ’embarrassing’

The betting industry is accused of grooming young people through partnerships with sport.

The betting industry is accused of grooming young people through partnerships with sport. Photo: AAP

A failure to stamp out gambling advertising has been labelled an embarrassment for the federal government, amid a fresh push to ban the promotions.

Crossbench MPs have reiterated calls for the government to ban betting ads, one year on from a landmark review which called for a phasing out of the advertising.

South Australian MP Rebekha Sharkie put forward laws to federal parliament on Monday to implement the advertising ban, saying a lack of government action since the report was handed down was contributing to social harm.

“The industry is grooming children and young people through partnerships with sport, but in the intervening 12 months, there has been very little conversation and very, very little action,” she told parliament.

“I had hoped against hope, for a strong and decisive government that would take this report and action the recommendations (and) so do presumably seven-out-of-10 Australians who want to see better regulation and support and a ban on gambling advertising.”

The review into gambling, led by the late MP Peta Murphy, made 31 recommendations, with the centrepiece being a three-year phase out of gambling ads to allow sporting codes to find replacement revenue.

Sharkie said the ban needed to be implemented.

“The minister’s lack of action, I think, is embarrassing,” she said.

“This has gone too far. The situation is dire. Regulations are lax, and yet government is really doing very, very little to police this industry.”

A spokesman for Communications Minister Michelle Rowland told AAP ahead of the anniversary of the report’s release the government was “firmly committed to minimising harms for online wagering”.

While the spokesman said the status quo of online betting was untenable, no timeline was given to implement the reforms in the report.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie also criticised the delay in imposing an advertising ban.

“It’s entirely unacceptable that an entire year has passed, almost to the day, and the government still hasn’t responded to the report or enacted any meaningful reforms to combat gambling advertising.”

“It’s way beyond time the government stopped kowtowing to the gambling industry as well as the big media companies, the sporting codes, and instead focus on protecting Australians from such predatory industries.”


Topics: gambling
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