The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will this evening seek to progress in the Parliament his motion to ban gambling ads during sports television broadcasts in children’s viewing times.
Sports betting is the fastest growing area of gambling losses – the latest figures show $814m was lost by Australians in the 2014-15 financial year – and sports broadcasts are thick with betting ads.
Mr Wilkie said a loophole that allowed gambling ads on sports broadcasts during G-rated periods had to be closed to protect children.
“You just can’t escape it, and if the feedback to my office is anything to go by the community is well and truly over it because they just want to be able to watch the footy or the cricket in peace,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
Mr Wilkie said the proliferation of gambling advertising during sport is normalising gambling for children.
“Crikey we know that children are especially susceptible to advertising and hero worship, and that gambling advertising has a real and measurable impact on the children who are subjected to it,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
“For example a Deakin University study just this year showed that three quarters of children surveyed could recall at least one sports betting brand, and one quarter of children could identify four or more. The study also showed that children as young as eight could recall things like bonus bets and cash-back refunds after watching sports broadcasts.”
Mr Wilkie’s motion calls on the Government to act on sports betting advertising and, in particular, for the implementation of a ban on gambling advertising during sports broadcasts on commercial television, as well as on the SBS. It also recognises the increasingly large sums of money being lost on sports betting, and acknowledges that the current regulatory framework is inadequate.
Mr Wilkie said self-regulation did not work.
“Remember the gambling industry is the fourth biggest spender on TV advertising in Australia so you can see why the TV stations don’t want to give up that revenue,” he said.
“What the Government should do is amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to explicitly ban gambling advertising during all children’s viewing times, including sports broadcasts. And while we’re at it Deputy Speaker this motion, if passed by the House, would also call on the Minister for Communications to issue a directive under section 11 of the Special Broadcasting Services Act 1991 to put in place a similar ban on gambling advertising on the SBS.”
“As a father of two young daughters I well understand the community concern about the impact on children. Clearly the restrictions during G-rated periods are designed to protect children from inappropriate advertising, which is why the exemption for sports is so nonsensical because that’s the time not only when children are watching, but when they’re watching their sporting heroes in particular.”
A copy of the speech is attached.