Australia: anti-gambling campaigner pushes for total ad ban

The parliamentary committee has made 31 recommendations.
The parliamentary committee has made 31 recommendations.

Tim Costello of the Alliance for Gambling Reform rejects claims that a gambling ad ban would hurt free TV.

Australia.- Reverend Tim Costello, chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, has again called for a complete ban on gambling ads. Costello said gambling ads can influence young people. Independent MPs Zoe Daniel and Kate Chaney have also called for stringent restrictions.

A parliamentary inquiry recommended a comprehensive ban but major media companies, including Seven West Media, Nine Entertainment and Network 10, are campaigning against the possibility. Free TV Australia is advocating for ad frequency caps instead. 

According to The Guardian, Costello said broadcasters were “lobbying heavily”, but he believed the government had “options”, including taxing foreign sports betting operators to support free-to-air channels and cutting the AU$45m in spectrum fees they pay.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ inquiry into online gambling made 31 recommendations, including a phased ban on all advertisements that direct people to gambling websites and apps. The ban would be introduced over three years.

Australian politicians Barnaby Joyce and Keith Pitt have voiced opposition to the proposal. They said the industry can be effectively regulated with less severe measures.

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