Laws to ban gambling advertising during live sporting events, being canvased by the Federal Government, are a welcome first step toward protecting children from the harmful influence of gambling, says the Australian Christian Lobby.
ACL managing director Lyle Shelton said given the serious damage gambling causes families and the community, advertising for sports betting should be treated in the same way tobacco advertising is.
“Sports betting is only allowed to be conducted by adults so it is unacceptable for gambling advertisements to be promoted to children watching their sports stars on television,” Mr Shelton said.
“There is a growing mood in the community that gambling should not be normalised and be considered an acceptable part of sport.
"The Federal Government is right to move to close the loophole that allows gambling ads to be shown in children’s viewing time during sports broadcasts but banned during other programming at this time.
“It is particularly concerning for parents watching the footy with their children to have the commentators throwing to gambling industry figures for “updates” on the odds.
“This issue is an example of where principled public leadership, such as that displayed by Treasurer Scott Morrison and Senator Nick Xenophon who have put forward this proposal, is needed in the face of powerful vested interests in the gambling industry.
“There is evidence that betting has had a corrupting influence across many sports and is creating an environment where broadcasters and sports clubs are becoming reliant on revenue from victims for income.”
“The cases last year where five AFL player agents were fined for betting on different games shows how vulnerable sport is to the corrupting influence of gambling.” Mr Shelton said.
Tennis has also been rocked by scandals with more than 20 leading players linked last year to gambling rings.
Mr Shelton said in addition to banning gambling advertising the Federal Government should hold an inquiry to consider other methods of protecting children and the community from the powerful gambling lobby.
“A good way to shine a light on sports betting’s corrupting influence would be for the parliament to hold a Senate Inquiry,” Mr Shelton said.