Local mayor in Victoria faces criticism for banning gambling ads at local sports events

The initiative was heavily criticized by sports clubs and gaming establishments in the area
The initiative was heavily criticized by sports clubs and gaming establishments in the area

Tina Samardzija, the mayor of the City of Monash, is encouraging other councils to take similar actions and to protect young people from being exposed to gambling.

Australia.- The city of Monash became one of the first in Australia to ban all forms of betting advertising at community sports events. The measure was announced by Tina Samardzija, the mayor of the city, but it quickly received strong criticism from the clubs who warned that the measure could harm them financially.

However, Samardzija was even tougher, saying that other cities should take similar measures to prevent gambling harm and to protect young people.

She also told The Guardian: “In my view, there is nothing more of a local government issue than kids going to play sport at their local clubs and being exposed to a message that gambling is normal.”

The City of Monash estimates that local poker machines raised AU$84.9m in the 2021-22 financial year.

Mulgrave Country Club is one of the largest gaming establishments in the region, with a gaming revenue of AU$7.1m in the last fiscal year. It sponsors dozens of local sports clubs, offering youth soccer, netball, baseball, squash, cricket and softball.

Peter Delaney, the venue’s president, said: “We are a nonprofit and only give away our money to local community groups and sporting clubs.

“Mulgrave Country Club has been contacted by numerous community sporting clubs who are concerned about the annual funding they receive from us may cease.”

Andrew Lloyd, the president of the Community Clubs Victoria also questioned Samardzija’s decision and stated: “This is being politicized unfairly and unfairly. What this is doing is actually dividing people and it’s not good.

“Council should be leading by example and helping with things, not actually trying to divide people and impose things on them that are really draconian.”

Samardzija said clubs would have up to four years to adapt to the new policy and if it is necessary, the council could help them find new sponsors.

See also: Australia to include stark new warnings on gambling ads

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