Annette Kimmitt, Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has expressed her support for a total ban on gambling ads, a hotly debated topic in Australia over the last couple of months. In an interview with The Guardian, she shared she was approached by many concerned parents who had found out their children were secretly gambling. Some of them shared that their children were able to register their own wagering accounts.
The CEO explained that as soon as people found out she was the head of the regulatory body, she was “bombarded” with stories of parents, previously unassuming their children had registered online accounts with gambling operators. When faced with the question of ‘when gambling ads would be banned’ she explained that the decision was not hers to make.
Labour MPs have argued that a blanket ban on gambling ads was “the right thing to do”. Over the last six months, government officials have been evaluating the parliamentary inquiry to prohibit ads. Led by the late Peta Murphy, it was fuelled by “powerful evidence of community harm”. The government has been consulting with broadcasters, tech companies, and gambling operators, with some of them providing their feedback on the topic.
Kimmitt further noted she was zealously awaiting the federal government’s response. Tim Costello, chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said the government should side with the VGCCC. He also identified the chance to reform Australia’s regulations for gambling advertising as a “once-in-a-generation chance”. He added that both the public and the gambling regulator were supportive of a total ban, as “the regulator is in touch with the community and knows exactly how they feel”.
Australia’s Federal Government is “Firmly Committed to Minimising Harms from Online Wagering”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of Michelle Rowland, Australia’s communications minister, confirmed the government was determined to reduce the harms associated with remote gambling and took the necessary steps to discuss the issue with stakeholders, health experts, and various industry participants. As the spokesperson communicated, the government would come up with an exhaustive reply in due time.
Instead of limitations on gambling ads, Labour MPs have been calling for a complete ban. Michael Freelander, a member of the Australian House of Representatives, and an outright proponent of the prohibition said that ads had a strong impact on the youth and young families and identified the social harm it did as “immeasurable”.
In an effort to assess the situation more precisely, the Australian government has approached Google, TikTok, and Facebook, requesting them to calculate their potential losses if gambling ads were prohibited. In addition to the calculations, the government’s emails also sough to reveal the number of children who have been exposed to gambling advertising content.
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.