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Australia inquiry calls for ban of online gambling ads

Australian parliamentary inquiry called for banning online gambling advertisements within three years on Wednesday, citing serious harm caused by an inescapable “torrent” that is “grooming children”.

According to the inquiry, partial bans don’t work, and a “phased, comprehensive” ban would leave no room for circumvention.

The report notes that Australians spend more on online gambling than citizens of any other country, and almost half of those surveyed in 2022 had placed a bet on sports or racing.

“Online gambling has been deliberately and strategically marketed alongside sport, which has normalized it as a fun, harmless, and sociable activity,” parliamentary committee chair Peta Murphy said. 

Gambling advertising is grooming children and young people to gamble and encourages riskier behavior,” she added. “The torrent of advertising is inescapable.”

International media describes that “gambling is big business in Australia, providing revenue for media organizations, bars and sports clubs.” and “the gambling industry is also a significant donor to major political parties.”

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also supports the ban, saying that tackling online betting alone would not be enough. 

“We need to deal with online issues, we need to deal with social media issues, we need to deal with it comprehensively across the board,” he said.

“It’s no good doing just one portion of reform that then just opens up and channels it somewhere else.”

He said: “There is absolutely a need for a national strategy to combat the profound gambling harm that is being wrought in communities across Australia.”

“Each year gambling rips AU$25 billion ($16.5 billion) in losses out of our communities.”

However, Responsible Wagering Australia said that a blanket ban would be “a step too far”, pointing out that it would encourage people to turn to “illegal offshore markets”.

Meanwhile, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has cooperated with the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) to block illegal offshore gambling websites.

According to the latest update in May, since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 747 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked.

Over 200 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.



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