Page 2306 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022
talk to, the people to whom I have to say, “Sorry, the motion wasn’t passed. Politics got in the way.”
I have been advocating strongly for an increase to the betting operations tax because I believe that the online wagering providers have exploited the community through COVID. I believe that, similar to the ACT clubs that are taxed to ameliorate the harm they cause, some of the revenue from the betting operations tax should be allocated towards harm reduction. In 2019 nearly 10 per cent of the ACT’s adult population bet on sports and special events. Of those people, nearly 40 per cent were classified as at-risk gamblers. Further, 14 per cent of the ACT population bet on a horse or a greyhound race, and 21 per cent are classified as at-risk gamblers.
The harm caused by sports betting is approaching double that of the harm caused by horseracing betting. Eighty per cent of people who bet on sports in the ACT bet online. However, only 50 per cent of people who bet on horse races bet online. Revenue from the betting operations tax in the ACT would predominantly come from online sports betting, and significantly more harm comes from sports betting than horseracing. This is why I do not support Mr Parton’s motion. I believe that any “reasonable proportion” of the betting operations tax should go to online gambling harm minimisation.
We continue to live in an environment where gambling advertising floods our TVs, social media and sportsgrounds, which I strongly believe needs to be addressed. But while we live in that environment, there needs to be education and an antidote to that advertising. We know the advertising works, which is why we have a major public health problem in the ACT of online gambling harm in 18- to 45-year-old males.
Again, to try to put this in perspective: compared to Victoria we have much higher sports betting participation rates. However, what is really stark is that in Victoria 48 per cent of people who gamble on sports are under 44, but in the ACT that is 80 per cent and it is very starkly skewed towards men. I have said this before, but if you are a male under the age of 45 and do not have a tertiary education in the ACT you have a one in five probability that you will experience gambling harm. I cannot say it enough: we have a major public health problem of gambling harm in young men in the ACT.
As I said in my original motion a couple of months ago, I strongly believe that the ACT government needs to consider evidence-based ways to raise community awareness around the risks of online gambling, and very urgently and proactively explore options to fund this from an increase in the betting operations tax to ameliorate the harm caused by online gambling. I just hope that into the future we can all reflect on the harm that comes to our community when we speak on this issue. Thank you.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (4.53): I am very pleased to rise to speak on Mr Parton’s motion today The government recognises the role of our local racing industry in providing employment and other economic benefits. The memorandum of understanding reflects our acknowledgement of, and support for continuing, those jobs. Fundamentally, it also represents a judgement about the level of support among