Australia could ban gambling ads in three years, in a potential $300m revenue loss

Gambling advertisements could be banned within three years if the government adopts the sweeping recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry, in what would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars of lost revenue for media operators.

The damning report titled ‘You win some, you lose more’, handed down today, followed a probe by the House of Representatives standing committee on social policy and legal affairs, makes 31 recommendations.

One of the most significant calls for a ban on all advertising by online gambling operators, applying to television, radio, online and newspapers, phased in over a three-year period.

That could amount to a $150 million-plus loss for broadcasters alone, based on data collected by the Nielsen Ad Intel Panel. Of the total $300 million-plus spent by gambling operators last year, about half was allocated to TV advertising.

Peta Murphy, the federal member for Dunkley and the chair of the committee, said the phase-out timeline would give media operators and sports broadcasters enough time to find alternative sponsors and advertisers.

While the cost of an ad ban would be hefty, Murphy said it would “prevent another generation from experiencing escalating gambling harm”.

“Gambling advertising and simulated gambling through video games, is grooming children and young people to gamble and encourages riskier behaviour,” she said.

“The torrent of advertising is inescapable. It is manipulating an impressionable and vulnerable audience to gamble online.”

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the government will now review the report and consider its recommendations, “in full and in consultation with key stakeholders, before outlining proposed reforms”.

“This report provides a comprehensive review of online gambling, and outlines options to reduce gambling harms in Australia,” Rowland said.

“I thank the committee for its work, and the many Australians with lived experiences, advocates and industry groups who participated in this process.”

Australians spend the most in the world, per capita, on legal forms of gambling, losing $25 billion every year. Australians also lose the most money to online gambling, per capita, in the world.

Australian punters spend the most money in the world, per capita, on legal gambling and lose an estimated $25 billion each year.

And Aussies lose more to online gambling than any other country.

The participation of Australians in online gambling surged from 12.6% in 2010 to 30.7% in 2019.

The inquiry was established last September and received 161 submissions, 26 exhibits and held 13 public hearings.


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