Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2966 ..
value during the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia. This largely comes from the increase in their market share in Australia. It is not surprising, as the research from the Australian Gambling Research Centre found, in a survey of 2,000 people, that last year almost one in three participants opened a new online betting account during the pandemic lockdown.
The gambling industry spent $271 million—$271 million—on advertising last year. We know that advertising works, which is why we do not allow cigarette advertising. The advertising has become so bad that even the Tabcorp chief executive, in September this year, said that the federal government should impose restrictions on TV gambling ads, particularly during prime time, to protect children and teenagers. He warned that a switch towards online gambling during the pandemic has brought about a need for greater government intervention.
The free TV code prohibits gambling and betting commercials from being broadcast in any program classified G or lower between 6 am and 8.30 am and between 4 pm and 7 pm, as well as during any program broadcast between 7 am and 8.30 pm that is principally directed towards children. However, a loophole permits such advertising during commercial broadcasts in a news, current affairs or sporting program.
Although the free TV code and the ASTRA codes were updated to prohibit the promotion of ads during live sporting matches, the loophole means that viewers, including children, are still exposed to gambling advertisements during these time slots. However, it should be noted that, no matter what time of day or night it is, any sporting footage has gambling advertising embedded in it. The games are shrouded in advertising around the sportsgrounds and on the jerseys of our favourite players. This all needs to change.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform, of which former MLA Gordon Ramsay is now CEO, is a national advocacy organisation that works to prevent harm from gambling. It is running a campaign calling for an end to sports betting advertising in Australia. I encourage everyone to sign its petition to ban the ads.
The Reverend Tim Costello, chief advocate of the alliance, says:
When you stop and take notice of how many gambling ads you see on television, it’s really disturbing. Sometimes more than half the ads you see in a commercial break are for gambling. That’s not right.
Unfortunately, over this lockdown the advertising has been invasive. It is wrong. You do not need to be an anthropologist or a psychologist to see who these companies are marketing to. They are marketing to men—young men; larrikins; the good old Aussie bloke; the bloke with mates; the funny guy; the rich man; the happy, winning man.
We talk a lot in this place about issues that are gendered. The harm that comes to individuals and families from online and sports gambling is gendered, and it is men who are experiencing that harm. Of course, the harm flows, which is why gambling is a public health problem, because the harm that the young man experiences also hurts his young wife and their young children.