Australian Wagering Council hits out at gambling ad ban proposal

Australian Wagering Council hits out at gambling ad ban proposal

Friday, April 8, 2016 Totally Gaming

The Australian Wagering Council (AWC) has criticised a proposal by Greens party leader Richard Di Natale to ban gambling advertising on television as a “piecemeal, political gesture”.

Di Natale said today (Friday) that the ban would “make it possible for people to sit down with their kids and watch a game of footy without being bombarded by constant messages to bet” and compared the proposed prohibition on the ban on tobacco advertising introduced more than two decades ago.

However, AWC chief executive Ian Fletcher hit out at the leader of the Greens, a party that holds 10 of 76 seats in the Australian Senate.

“Comparisons between sports betting advertising and the advertising of known cancer causing products, while headline-grabbing, unhelpfully caricatures a genuinely complex issue of community concern,” Fletcher said.

He added that a ban would “have detrimental commercial impacts on the racing, sporting and media industries” and said that it was “misguided” to focus on sports betting rather than machine gambling.

According to statistics collected by the Queensland government, more than half of gambling expenditure is ploughed through poker machines. Fletcher claims that sports betting accounts for only three per cent of Australia’s total gambling expenditure.

The federal government has outlawed the advertising of live odds during sports broadcasts. However, during the opening weekend of the 2016 Australian Football League Aussie rules season, about one in six ads were for gambling companies, according to Fairfax Media.

TotallyGaming.com says:

Di Natale’s attack on the gambling industry comes at an intriguing time for the sector in Australia. Major players such as William Hill have made big investments in the country in recent times and, as reported by TotallyGaming.com, only days ago a huge new Crown casino development got the go-ahead in Sydney. However, in a sports-mad country, Australia has a somewhat precarious relationship with betting, as illustrated by recent comments by AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan. Many stakeholders in the Australian gambling sector will be eagerly awaiting a report being published into the online sports betting industry by former New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell on behalf of the government.

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