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PM Turnbull takes an ‘active interest’ in gambling ad ban

Wed, Apr 26, 9:15am by Staff Writer

The battle lines over the proposed ban on gambling ads during live sport have been drawn, with a proposal now expected to go before cabinet early next week ahead of the federal budget.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is said to have an active interest in the proposal by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, which would close the loophole which allows betting companies to advertise during children’s viewing time.

Senator Fifield is being lobbied by all points of the debate including the AFL, who have suggested that advertising be limited to quarter time and half time breaks.

Professional sporting bodies are concerned that the changes will diminish the amounts that broadcasters pay for rights, as they will be restricted in their ability to commercialise those rights.

There have been proposals to compensate free to air networks by reducing the fees they currently pay for licenses, while Pay TV broadcasters could be compensated by changes to the anti-siphoning list which would allow them a greater access to sporting events.

However, there have been industry sources saying major international sports broadcasters such as ESPN and BEIN Sports could pull out of Australia if they can’t use betting advertisers.

There have also been suggested that the ‘siren to siren’ ban could extend to ten minutes before and ten minutes after games.

But the pressure from the anti-gambling lobby is growing. While anti-gambling MP Senator Nick Xenophon has stood back from the current proposal, the head of the Alliance of Gambling Reform Tim Costello has penned an editorial for the Herald-Sun, upping the pressure for change.

“Kids watching sport are being groomed to gamble, with an avalanche of advertising that’s unavoidable,” part of the editorial read.

“The federal government has a unique chance to stop the ads and keep our kids safe. The gambling advertising is already having a profound impact on kids.”

“Three in four kids can tell you the name of at least one sports gambling brand. Many can tell you without any prompting, details of the ads and “deals” they promote. We shouldn’t be surprised that one in five adults hit hard by gambling started before they turned 18.”

“Advertising gambling to kids is already banned — except during sporting broadcasts. Closing the loophole so that families can watch their favourite sports without being swamped by gambling ads is a simple, first step towards keeping the sport in sport.”

“A key hurdle, just like it was for tobacco, is the sporting code bosses. The AFL, Cricket Australia and NRL are deciding to put the next generation of their fans — today’s kids — at risk in order hold onto the gambling money that flows to them through the sale of sports broadcast rights.

“They’re trying to water the ban down so that gambling ads can air through to the moment the siren sounds to start the game, and from the moment the game ends.”

“This means kids will still be exposed to gambling advertising whether families like it or not.”

“Politicians around the Cabinet table should listen to sports fans and families, and ignore the sporting codes.”

“They’ll be thanked for it by footy fans and families around the country, grateful they can get into the game, without getting into gambling.”

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