The Australian government will scrutinise online betting and its effect on people with problematic gambling behaviour amid growing concerns about the widespread presence of online gambling platforms in Australians’ lives.
The House of Representatives’ social policy and legal affairs committee launched the inquiry into online gambling on Sep. 15 with a stated aim to examine whether current laws, safeguards and support programs are “enough to reduce harm to gamblers.”
“The Committee is concerned about the increasing reach of online gambling platforms into Australians’ lives, the exposure of children and young people to gambling advertising and how this may contribute to increases in problem gambling in the future,” said Chair of the Committee, Labor MP Peter Murphy.
Other issues to be covered by the committee include the appropriateness of current gambling regulations in light of new technologies, payment options and betting products, and the quality of online gambling education programs.
Another issue to be examined is whether the definition of “gambling service” should be amended to include additional gambling-like activities such as simulated gambling in video games, such as loot boxes and social casino games.
Independent MP Kate Chaney, who sits on the committee, said while sporting organisations and media outlets had come to rely on the revenue from gambling advertising, this should not be a barrier to reform.
With a gambling advertisement being shown every two minutes on free-to-air TV, society is “conditing our kids to think gambling is normal,” she noted.
“An immediate priority should be reducing children’s access to online gambling advertising.”
“I’m pleased the terms of reference include reviewing the effectiveness of advertising restrictions on children’s exposure to gambling products.”
Liberal MP David Coleman said while a number of regulations had been put in place under the coalition government, the issue was worthy of further work.
“If you go to the NRL website today and you look up information about tomorrow night’s final between the Parramatta Eels and the Canberra Raiders, it says Parramatta Eels $1.50 (US$1) versus Canberra Raiders $2.60 – before you even get to the list of who is in the team,” he told the ABC.
“If you are a 10-year-old kid in Canberra … that is the message you get.”
AAP contributed to this article.