Australia: Victorian Parl committee recommends ban on gambling adverts during primetime

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With South Australia banning gambling advertisements during peak hours, a Victorian parliamentary committee inquiry recently concluded that the state should do the same, as online gambling adverts are reportedly on the rise.

The committee, called as The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) urged that suitable laws and measures are required to protect Victorians, especially children and young individuals, from being exposed to gambling advertisements, especially during primetime hours and in public places.

“Our culture has often been described as one that tends to normalise both drinking and gambling. The Committee heard evidence to suggest that this has become more entrenched than ever, with the rise in social media and digital technology,” said Sarah Connolly, committee chair, as per the parliamentary release.

The Committee reviewed reports extensively over the course of eight months by three Auditor-Generals concerning the regulation of gambling and liquor along with reducing gambling harm.

“Our report’s 96 findings and 61 recommendations have been informed by 54 public submissions, three days of public hearings, a Geelong site visit and a youth roundtable,” Connolly added.

Several young individuals from Victoria also spoke about the prevalence of gambling and associated advertisements. Connolly lauded these individuals for sharing their “lived experiences” with Committee members with the purpose of driving decision-making.

This, however, does not come as shocking, as people across Australia have already been urging the governments to ban gambling adverts. In fact, a federal parliamentary committee in its report in July of this year also recommended banning all forms of gambling adverts in a phased manner in the next three years.

Since then, several reform measures, in order to lower gambling harm, have been rolled out by state governments including a ban on the use of credit card for online gambling, limiting the number of pokies and their operating hours, further restricting the timings for gambling adverts, among others.

In a move to prevent people from online gambling voluntarily, the federal government has also launched a self exclusion register called BetStop, using which people can exclude themselves from gambling on online platforms.