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The coalition is moving to protect families from gambling ads with Coalition frontbencher Senator Sarah Henderson introducing a private senator’s bill to ban gambling ads during live sport and one hour on either side of the match.
“Footy time is family time, and family time is precious, too precious, to have it swamped by a rising tide of gambling ads, ” said Henderson in parliament on June 21.
“The community wants this, and they expect the representatives to act.”
The move by the Senator follows Opposition Leader Peter Dutton stating in his Budget Reply Speech in May that the gambling ad ban was an important part of the coalition’s policy program.
Labor Waiting for Inquiry Outcome
However, the Labor government has said it is waiting for an outcome from an inquiry into gambling advertising before announcing its reform in this area.
Labor Senator Carol Brown said the government wanted to ensure its strategy for gambling ad reform was complete and thorough and argued that the coalition’s bill was incomplete.
“The coalition bill, from the government’s point of view, is incomplete. It is focused on only radio, TV and live streaming and is limited to live sport,” said Brown, arguing that other channels, such as social media, should also be considered.
However, Henderson disagreed with Brown, saying the bill needed to be above party politics.
“It would be petulant to quibble over whose idea it was first,” she said.
“It would be even more disappointing if this bill were not supported today in this chamber because of petty politics.”
Ban backed by Independents and Greens
Both independents MPs and the Greens party have asked for a complete gambling ban altogether and for the government to take immediate action.
Last month, independent MP Zoe Daniel introduced her own bill to ban gambling ads on TV, radio and streaming services altogether, describing the coalition’s approach as “meagre” and argue the reforms should go further.
Commenting on the Coalition policy proposal Daniel’s said in a post on Twitter she hoped the Bill would not pass.
“I am really hoping this squib of a bill does not pass. Gambling ads must be banned, full stop.”
The opposition has introduced its meagre attempt to limit gambling ads in the Senate. I am really hoping this squib of a bill does not pass. Gambling ads must be banned, full stop. #auspol
— Zoe Daniel (@zdaniel) June 20, 2023
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said gambling reform needed to be addressed urgently, describing gambling as insidious and ruining lives.
She said that gambling should have no place on television screens or on children’s devices and called for political action.
“It’s not a policy response we are missing. It is the political will to stare down this insidious industry and say enough,” she said.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has strict rules on gambling ads that appear on TV, radio or online. It outlines what gambling ads can say and when they can say it.
For example, there are restrictions during kids’ programs on TV and during live sports on TV, radio and online. Gambling ads cannot promote irresponsible behaviour or excessive betting.
Some ads are banned completely, including ads for prohibited activities such as online casino-style games.
Further, since April 2022, online wagering companies must show new gambling advertising taglines such as “Chances are, you’re about to lose” or “You win some. You lose more”.
The new taglines are evidence-based and will be accompanied by information encouraging people to seek help.