Proposed curbs on gambling advertising a good first step… industry broadcast bodies need to get on board

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Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) welcomes the Government’s proposals to curb gambling advertising on radio and television. 
Although a complete ban on advertising is preferable, the Government’s plan to prohibit gambling advertising during live sports events between 5:00am and 8:30pm is a step in the right direction.
We are alarmed, however, that the broadcast industry is amending self-regulatory codes which undermine this intent. If these amendments to the codes are accepted, the various exemptions that they include will mean that gambling advertising will continue to be promoted during live sport, when young people are watching and listening.
For example, clauses in two of the codes provide for an exemption around ‘long form sports events’ and allows gambling companies to advertise once every two hours in breaks during such events. Yet the period of 5am to 8.30pm is supposed to be a ‘’safe zone’’. Further, while the exemption only provides for one advertisement to be broadcast every two hours, it is not clear whether that is supposed to be one advertisement in total or one advertisement per gambling company every two hours. If the latter, this would open the floodgates to advertising during the supposedly restricted safe zone time.
Financial counsellors see the significant harm caused by gambling losses and related debts. Of particular concern, there has been an increase in the harm occurring among young people in recent years. With gambling odds becoming a normal part of sports culture, the numbers of 18-25 year old men with problems relating to sports betting has doubled between 2012 and 2015.[1]
Media Contact
Ellie Dwyer, Policy Officer
03 8554 6979

[1] Christopher Hunt (University of Sydney), ‘Wide-ranging ban on gambling ads during sport broadcasts will help those with problems: expert” The Conversation, 17 March 2017.