All Australians should be able to live their lives free from the harm caused by gambling. But right now we can’t sit down to watch a game of sport without being bombarded by gambling ads. We know that no child under 13 has watched a major sporting event without seeing them. It’s not good enough.
That’s why today we’re announcing our platform for the upcoming 2022 federal election.
We’re calling for sports betting advertising to be banned across all platforms
In 2011, sports gambling advertising expenditure was $89.7m. By 2021 that number had soared to $287m – and that’s before the value of online ads is included.
Hundreds of thousands of ads, on radio, within apps, on boundary rope markers and stadium signage, are visible to children, to those struggling to recover from gambling harm, and to those who are vulnerable to being enticed to gamble because they seek refuge from trauma. We cannot stop seeing ads which glamorise and normalise gambling in Australia. The industry is increasingly aggressive and will not self-regulate.
We’ve previously led the world in the important public health and public interest actions of banning tobacco advertising. It is possible. We owe it to our kids to do this again.
We’re calling for loopholes that allow gambling using credit cards to finally be closed
During the last parliamentary term, the Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services recommended legislative changes to ban the use of credit cards for gambling, directly or through third party payment systems like digital wallets.
We know that allowing people to bet with money that isn’t theirs is one of the most dangerous aspects of online gambling. It is not permitted in casinos or through poker machines. The Joint Committee accepted evidence that voluntary codes of conduct between wagering firms and the banking sector did not provide the certainty or security needed to end this practice.
The amendments needed are already drafted, the recommendation has been made. This is an easily implemented solution that will have tangible benefits for those most at risk of experiencing gambling harm.
Pictured: Our Chief Advocate, Rev Tim Costello, meets with Rev Stu Cameron, Superintendent of Wesley Mission (L) and Rev Simon Hansford, Moderator Uniting Church NSW/ACT (R) , to discuss the impacts of gambling harm and what we can do about it (used with permission of Wesley Mission).
We’re calling for the creation of a National Casino Regulator and an Online Gambling Ombudsman
The last two years have seen a series of unparalleled judicial inquiries into casinos in Australia – beginning with the inquiry led by Patricia Bergin into Crown’s fitness to hold a licence in NSW, which sparked Royal Commissions in Victoria and Western Australia into the existing Crown casinos, and the current NSW review into The Star’s operations in Sydney.
These inquiries have revealed a consistent failure both of self-regulation and also of state government regulation of casinos. They have also shown that because casinos move money and customers across state and international borders, it is impossible to regulate them properly at a state level.
A similar problem of jurisdiction exists with online gambling – because it operates across borders, people in one state with complaints against an online wagering service provider which is registered in another state or territory often have no recourse – regulators in both states refer the complaint to the other.
That’s why we’re calling on the next federal Parliament to expand the national consumer protection framework to regulate casinos and online gambling at a national level.
We’re calling for political donations from the industry to be banned
In 2020/2021 alone, at least $1.14m was donated to political parties at the federal level by gambling corporations or peak bodies. We know this does not reflect all donations – some occur below the reporting threshold, others are at state level, others are donated by individuals who are not necessarily known to have gambling associations. But over 20 years, some $80m has been donated to political parties and candidates.
It is a matter of public record that these donations peak when the industry feels under attack, such as when policy reform that would result in the reduction of gambling harm is proposed.
Along with donations, the corporate revolving door operates very smoothly with the gambling industry. Several former ministers, MPs, staffers and bureaucrats are now, or have been, senior employees of a range of gambling related entities, such as Responsible Wagering Australia, Australian Hotels Association, Racing NSW and Crown Resorts.
That’s why we’re calling on the next federal Parliament to ban donations from any gambling licence holder, including Board or committee members of gambling licence holders, or their peak bodies, and to ban political parties and candidates from accepting donations from gambling sources.
Help us to address the growing scourge of gambling related harm in our communities by supporting our Federal Election campaign. After successive failures to act, it’s time to call on the decision makers to stand up to this predatory industry.
Chief Executive Officer