A long list of gambling industry participants have requested or secured meetings with Australia’s communications minister, Michelle Rowland. Gaming and betting operators, associations, and broadcasters have queued up to address a proposed nationwide ban on gambling ads.
According to the recommendations of a parliament inquiry, introduced six months ago, ads for online gambling should be completely banned in Australia within three years. The late Peta Murphy, Labor MP at the time, said the phased ban on gambling ads would “give major sports and broadcasters time to find alternative advertisers and sponsors while preventing another generation from experiencing escalating gambling harm”.
A great array of industries voiced their concerns over the financial consequences of the country-wide ad ban. The Australian Football League and the National Rugby League are among the sports associations, which have met twice with the communications minister and her staff since the recommendations were introduced.
A long list of gambling companies, including Betfair, Tabcorp, and Sportsbet, have also requested meetings with the minister to share their apprehensions. Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), whose members include Australia’s leading gambling service providers, was requested to deliver more details regarding its opposition to the ban. RWA’s CEO, Kai Cantwell, commented on the recommendation at the time it was introduced, defining it as “shortsighted, ineffective, and not the answer”.
The communications minister also met with a list of broadcasters, including Channel Nine, Foxtel, SBS, and Free TV. The latter, which is representative of free broadcasters, warned that if the ad ban came into force, free coverage of sport might end.
The government has also sought feedback from Google and social media platforms to provide estimations of the financial consequences of a potential gambling ad ban for their businesses. The emails further sought information on the number of children exposed to gambling ads and if the ban could be effectively implemented.
Supporters of the Gambling Ads Ban Say the Government Should Act Swiftly and Implement the Committee’s Recommendations
Kate Chaney, an independent MP and member of the inquiry into online gambling harm, has also commented on the ads ban. She expressed her firm opinion that the Australian government should act swiftly and endorse the committee’s recommendations.
She reminded that it had been six months since Peta Murphy introduced the report to the parliament. She further noted that: “In the wake of Peta’s death, politicians from across the parliament voiced support for implementing the recommendations in full to honour her legacy”.
She also noted that by banning the ads that popularize online gaming and wagering, the government can demonstrate its fortitude to oppose the gambling lobbyists and its commitment to Australia’s youth, the mental health of its citizens, and the protection of vulnerable groups.
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.