Sharkie supports motion to close gambling ad loophole

17 Jul 2020

A motion calling on the Federal Government to close a loophole allowing gambling advertising during televised sporting events when children could be watching has been backed by the Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie.

The NXT Lower House MP yesterday spoke in support of the motion, introduced by Independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie.

The NXT and Mr Wilkie also want to rein in gambling advertising on the taxpayer-supported SBS television channel.

Predatory gambling targeting adults is one thing, but predatory advertising of gambling products during prime time when children are also watching the television is disgraceful,” Ms Sharkie said yesterday.

“We no longer stop to wonder why cigarettes cannot be advertised on television any more, let alone during children’s viewing hours, because the reason is patently obvious.

“So why should it be any different for gambling?”

Ms Sharkie said the Government should heed the results of a recent study by Deakin University Associate Professor Samantha Thomas that found that three quarters of children could recall the name of at least one sports betting brand.

The study also found that one quarter of the children surveyed could identify four or more sports betting brands.

“Unfortunately, just like cigarettes before them, the gambling giants do not seem to be averse to hooking in punters while they are young,” Ms Sharkie said.

“Prime time advertising only serves to normalise addictive behaviour in the pliable minds of young Australians, and it’s when gambling becomes addictive that it becomes a problem.

“It is deeply concerning that the study by Professor Samantha Thomas revealed that a large majority of children thought betting was an entirely normal part of sport.

“When the gambling brands become as ubiquitous as the sports heroes who appear in the same time slot, and when the heroes of your footy team are worshipped according to their betting odds, you know you have a serious problem on your hands.

“Unfortunately, the two major parties are beholden to the vested interests of the gambling lobby, and have shut out the overwhelming community demand for real reform.”

In September Ms Sharkie’s NXT Senate colleagues Nick Xenophon, Stirling Griff and Skye Kakoschke-Moore moved a similar motion that also failed to gain the support of the major parties.

The NXT will continue to push for reforms when it comes to predatory gambling. In particular, the legislation the team introduced in the Senate to reform online gambling and sports betting advertising.

  • Predatory gambling costs Australia up to $5 billion a year.
  • Predatory gambling is a leading cause of homelessness.
  • Dr Charles Livingstone and Ms Maggie Johnson from Monash University searched the Australian Electoral Commission political donor records and found that between July 1999 and June 2015 one pro-gambling organisation, ClubsNSW, declared political donations worth over $2.5m.
  • The Coalition received over $1.68 million of this money.
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