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Xenophon & Turnbull to do deal to ban gambling ads during sport

Thu, Mar 16, 6:35pm by Head Editor

A deal is currently being negotiated between the Turnbull Government and the senate crossbench to see betting ads banned during sports broadcasts.

According to Fairfax Media, South Australian senator and anti-gambling campaigner Nick Xenophon has proposed an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill currently before parliament which would prevent any gambling advertising during periods where children could be watching.

While the amendment is hardly a surprise, it could get the support of the Turnbull Government, should Xenophon and his fellow NXT members support a key media deregulation bill.

Xenophon told 3AW radio that “when parents stop me in the streets and tell me their 8-12 year olds can tell them about odds for a game I think we have a problem.”

In last season’s AFL coverage, more than one in six of the ads during the game, were gambling ads and to illustrate the growth from 2011 to 2015, the total gambling advertising spend went from $91 million to $236 million.

The proposed limit to gambling advertising would have strong support from Parliament, with both Labor and the Greens keen to see reform.

Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus told parliament earlier this year it was ‘imperative” for the government to begin phasing out betting ads during live sporting programs and the Greens also back a ban.

The fallout would see around $120 million worth of gambling ads pulled from free to air broadcasters, but the proposed deal would see the changes to media regulation scrap licensing fees which cost the networks a similar amount.

With the networks no worse off from the deal, they are likely to lower their objections as community concern over the practice of gambling advertising grows.

The gambling industry has recognised it has an image problem and several of the bigger corporate bookmakers have set up a new lobby group, Responsible Wagering Australia, led by former Labor senator Stephen Conroy and chaired by former Liberal senator Richard Colbeck.

IGAB, which replaced the outdated 2001 Act which ahs proven manifestly inadequate to handle the currently gambling and wagering environment, is currently before parliament and will be debated further over the next two sitting weeks.

However, a lobbyist, speaking to Adnews on condition of anonymity, cast doubts over Senator Xenophon’s chances of getting the deal across the line.

“Senator Xenophon has asked on a number of occasions during different sorts of negotiations on different polices to consider this gambling ban,” the lobbyist says.

“One of the problems is that it is very hard to implement because the racing industry needs the gambling ads during the sporting events whereas some people would argue that cricket and football, particularly, it’s a bit overdone.”
“There’s a lot of work being done in Canberra to see how one would actually do it but Senator Xenophon wants a blanket ban and that’s not going to happen.”

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