Senator calls for complete ban on betting advertising

Australian senator and leader of the Greens Party says he plans to introduce a bill that will ban all forms of sports betting advertising, local media reports.

Senator Richard Di Natale, a known anti-gambling advocate, said the policy would treat gambling promotions in the same way as smoking ads.

“The Greens have a bill to stop the promotion of sports betting, in the same way tobacco advertising was banned in 1992. Nobody is saying people shouldn’t have the freedom to have a punt if they want, but watching a game of footy shouldn’t be like walking into a casino,” said Di Natale said, quoted by the Huffington Post.

The bill would also ban companies from sponsoring teams.

“Kids can tell us the plot lines for ads, the characters that they see within the gambling ads, they’re able to name multiple gambling brands and when we ask kids about where they most see these ads they say in sport,” said Samantha Thomas, an associate professor at Deakin University who investigates the impact of gambling advertisements on children.

In December, New South Wales banned the promotion of live odds during commercial breaks of sporting matches broadcasted in the state.

However, others have labelled the recent announcement as a “headline-grabbing” move, with the Australian Wagering Council describing the plan as a “piecemeal, political gesture”.

“Comparisons between sports betting advertising and the advertising of known cancer causing products, while headline-grabbing, unhelpfully caricatures a genuinely complex issue of community concern,” said the council’s chief executive, Ian Fletcher.

Fletcher added any ban would “have detrimental commercial impacts on the racing, sporting and media industries”, and instead called for more collaboration between the industry and political parties on the issue.