Australia: group relaunches campaign for ban on sports betting ads

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the surge in online gambling in Australia.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to the surge in online gambling in Australia.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has relaunched its campaign to end sports betting ads, claiming sports wagering was the fastest-growing form of gambling in the country.

Australia.- The Alliance for Gambling Reform, a national advocacy organisation that works to prevent and minimize the harm from gambling, has relaunched a campaign calling for an end to sports betting advertising in Australia.

The group highlighted a report carried out by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) that showed that almost one in three participants in a survey of 2,000 opened a new online betting account during the Covid-19 pandemic, and one in 20 started gambling online.

Reverend Tim Costello, chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said: “When you stop and take notice of how many gambling ads you see on television, it’s really disturbing. Sometimes more than half the ads you see in a commercial break are for gambling. That’s not right.”

According to Costello, sports wagering doubled in the five years to 2017/18 and annual losses now exceed AU$1bn (US$765.5m).

Brent Jackson, chief executive of corporate bookmaker lobby group Responsible Wagering Australia, criticised Costello and claimed the issue was non-existent.

Jackson said: “While sports betting is growing in popularity, problem gambling rates continue to fall, and wagering advertising complaints are at all-time lows, comprising only 0.31 per cent of all advertising complaints.”

The Victorian government is looking to examine how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on gambling behaviours.

Sports betting: The fastest-growing form of gambling in Australia

According to reports, bookmakers saw an enormous increase in market value during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Entain, the British sports betting and gambling company, saw an $8bn increase in value in the past year.

Flutter Entertainment increased in value by $30bn during the pandemic, with a 59 per cent increase in Australian revenue last year.

The report by the AGRC showed that horseracing, sports betting, greyhound racing and lotto were the preferred gambling activities in Australia both before and during Covid-19.

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