PAEC Urges Victorian Government to Introduce Ban on Prime-Time Gambling Advertisements

PAEC Urges Victorian Government to Introduce Ban on Prime-Time Gambling Advertisements

PAEC Urges Victorian Government to Introduce Ban on Prime-Time Gambling AdvertisementsThe Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) released a gambling report in which the committee made a range of recommendations that, if accepted and implemented by Victoria’s government, would lead to stricter regulation of gambling within the state. In one of its key proposals, PAEC urged state officials to follow in the footsteps of South Australia and prohibit gambling advertisements on television during prime time, i.e. from 4pm to 7:30pm. A suggestion to ban ads in “areas that come under state jurisdiction” like public spaces was made as well.

According to Committee Chair Sarah Connolly, Victoria is in need of better regulations and safeguards that can protect its adult residents and Victorian children, specifically. The report outlined evidence that the culture of drinking and gambling has strengthened thanks to social media and digital technology, and that it has become increasingly normalised. A suggestion was also put forward for Victorian authorities to reduce the number of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) within the state’s territory. Additionally, the committee urged state officials to introduce updates on youth education programs surrounding the harms tied to gambling and alcohol.

Ms Connolly also put an emphasis on how a variety of factors played a role in what findings and recommendations are outlined in the report. This includes 54 public submissions, three days of public hearings, a site visit at Geelong during which committee MPs had a meeting with the support staff of Meli, a not-for-profit organisation, and feedback from a youth roundtable where individuals aged between 18 and 30 shared their views on gambling as well as their own experiences with games of chance and betting.

Key Findings

Key FindingsPAEC’s report comprises a number of findings, based on which the committee made various suggestions for the government to consider. One finding made a link between gambling and suicide rates, with data showing that between the years 2009 and 2016, gambling caused an average of 23 Victorian residents to commit suicide annually.

Gambling was found to aggravate suicide risk factors, specifically those that have to do with employment, financial hardship, and an individual’s relationships. With this in mind, a request was made for the committee to be given the opportunity to gather more data on the matter in partnership with the Coroners Court of Victoria, specifically information pertaining to 2017 and onwards. A connection was also made between gambling-related harm and communities facing social and economic hardships, and another group found to be especially vulnerable to gambling harm was young men. This was attributed to the normalisation of gambling.

According to the report’s data, Victorians lost a total of AU$5.1 billion in 2020-21 due to gambling. The figure increased by AU$2.4 billion in 2022-23, with electronic gambling machines being cited as the form of gambling that led to the most substantial losses. This is one of the likely factors that led to the committee’s urging for the reduction of EGMs across Victoria.

Online gambling, however, was noted to be the loss category that has seen the fastest growth. Moreover, the report did not fail to highlight the discrepancy between player losses and gambling tax revenue, with the former (AU$7.5) far outweighing the latter (AU$2.5 billion) in 2022-23. A recommendation was then made for the state government to examine the Community Support Fund’s potential to further finance services and programs that aim to mitigate and prevent gambling-related harm.

Daniel Williams

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.

Daniel Williams

Author: Jerry Lewis