An inquiry into online gambling harm in Australia led by Labor MP Peta Murphy is likely to recommend further restrictions on gambling advertising and promotions, much to the dislike of broadcasters, sporting codes and betting operators.
Need for Further Regulation
Murphy, who also chairs the standing committee on social policy and legal affairs, said that the inquiry has so far received almost 150 submissions and held multiple hearings, seeking to determine whether further regulation of the industry generating AU$50 billion ($33.8 billion) a year is needed, reported The Guardian.
“It is absolutely clear that it is not just community members who are concerned about the proliferation of sports betting advertisements and the increasing engagement of young people in sports betting,” she said, outlining that there is “powerful evidence” gathered from public health experts, academics, researchers and support services that points to “harm from gambling being something that exists for online betting” and land-based gambling.
Murphy’s suggestion of further regulation would be met with resistance by peak bodies for free-to-air TV and radio broadcasters which argued recently that any further restrictions on gambling advertising would impact revenue from gambling contracts and could lead to a reduction in free sports coverage as broadcasters would look for alternative revenue streams.
Broadcasters, much like major sporting groups, which claimed that restrictions on gambling advertising could impact funding to grassroots sport, claimed that the current regulatory regime is adequate but Murphy believes otherwise, rejecting their claims.
Restrictions Supported in Multiple States
She stated that their “suggestion that the current regime is absolutely perfect” is not supported by the evidence the inquiry gathered from “community members and experts in the gambling space” and invited those organizations to familiarize themselves with “community views and expectations around advertising.”
The increase in gambling advertising and the number of complaints filed with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) also support Murphy’s claim that further regulation would likely be needed going forward.
Further restrictions to gambling advertisements and promotions will be supported in multiple states, with ACT attorney general, Shane Rattenbury, expressing his support for a near-complete ban on sports betting advertising, the South Australian government also calling for a ban, and the New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania authorities believing that the current regime is not sufficient.
Murphy also stated that the self-exclusion scheme implemented by the Northern Territory Racing Commission failed to work properly as it only served betting companies to obtain the details of people who have never opened accounts with those companies and send promotions to gambling addicts who are trying to stay away from gambling.