Introduction by Croakey: Online gambling companies, the Australian Banking Association and top sporting codes AFL and NRL are among industry groups that appeared at a public hearing for the Federal Inquiry into online gambling this week.
Their appearance before the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs was to determine “whether industry is doing enough to limit the harm of online gambling in the Australian community,” according to MP and Chair of the Committee Peta Murphy.
“The AFL and NRL are major beneficiaries of sports betting, including through sponsorship and advertising, and receiving a proportion of each bet placed on their games. The Committee is interested in hearing how this aligns with the promotion of their codes as family-friendly and socially responsible organisations,” Murphy said in a statement.
Meanwhile in Victoria, the Andrews Labor Government has issued a direction that requires Crown Melbourne Casino’s Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct “to be updated with further protections to minimise gambling related harm” including limits on the duration a person is permitted to gamble in the casino.
Below, the Alliance for Gambling Reform’s CEO Carol Bennett highlights some of the progress made towards gambling reform across the country, originally published in the AGR’s March newsletter and republished here with permission.
Carol Bennett writes:
There is so much potential for gambling reform on so many fronts and featuring highly on both State and Commonwealth agendas.
The chorus of voices calling for our political leaders to step up and do something to remove the hold that gambling has over every aspect of our lives from our sport to advertising, online to our phones – we are saturated in availability of gambling products at every turn.
The NSW Election has captured the nation’s attention with a promise of a cashless gambling card. With the ALP claiming victory, the trial of the cashless card on 500 of the state’s 90,000 poker machines will shortly commence with the oversight of an ‘expert panel’.
It’s hard to imagine that the genie can be put back in the bottle with community concern about gambling harm at an all-time high in NSW and around the country.
I am of the firm view that the outcome of the NSW election results across numerous electorates suggest gambling reform can and has been a vote winner for many candidates. Read our media release here.
At a national level, the new Parliamentary Friends of Gambling Harm Reduction officially met at Australian Parliament House to explore issues related to online gambling.
I provided a short outline on gambling harm in Australia followed by two of our lived experience advocates, Gavin Fineff (via his mum Lyn in a written presentation) and Harry (supported by his dad, Peter).
This was a powerful event that attracted MPs and staffers from all sides of the political spectrum. It is good to see so many of our federal parliamentarians supporting gambling harm reduction!
The Federal Inquiry into online gambling and its impact on those experiencing gambling harm continues to hear some incredible evidence from industry, researchers and harm reduction experts, those with lived experience and regulators.
The Alliance provided evidence in December 2022 and a submission calling for a ban on broadcast advertising and national strategy and regulator to address the growing problems related to online gambling.
We are also keen to see a ban on credit for gambling and have launched a policy paper on this issue. We look forward to the report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs in early June.
Last month, our Chief Advocate, Reverend Tim Costello and I met with the Federal Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland MP. It was a good opportunity to discuss necessary changes to ensure gambling harm is addressed nationally. The Alliance looks forward to seeing real reform at the national level.
We met with the Victorian Greens Member for Gambling Harm Reduction (and former Alliance team member), Ms Katherine Copsey MP. We have also been working with the very active federal crossbench including two roundtables with crossbenchers led by David Pocock MP on marketing of harmful products.
Our collaboration with other key public health groups continues to gain momentum including our work with the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) on political donations.
We have also welcomed advocacy from Wesley Mission on NSW losses in some of the most socially disadvantaged suburbs. And our joint conference with the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) conference is only a month away in May so please if you haven’t already, secure your place to hear from the country’s best experts and those with lived experience of gambling harm.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, please contact:
Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858 | Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 | Lifeline 131 114 |
For 24/7 free, confidential alcohol or other drug support contact www.counsellingonline.org.au or call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline 1800 250 015 to speak to someone in your state.
See Croakey’s extensive archive of articles on gambling harms.