June 10, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Angel Hristov

Sky News Host Questions Decision to Ban Betting Ads But Ignore Pokies

The host noted that gambling is a harmless pastime for many people and that recreational players do not gamble more than they can afford to lose

Sky News host Caleb Bond commented on Australia’s planned crackdown on gambling ads in sports. While there is bipartisan support for restrictions on betting advertising, Bond argued that sports betting might not be the “big evil” some believe it to be.

The expectations for ad restrictions come in the wake of the Parliamentary Standing Committee’s proposal for a total ban on all forms of online gambling advertisements in sports. Similar measures have also secured the support of opposition leaders.

Even the prime minister echoed his annoyance with wagering promotions during sporting events, highlighting bipartisan support for a ban.

Bond pointed out that, since at least some restrictions seem inevitable, clubs are already preparing for a crackdown on ads. Such a move could cost NRL clubs millions of dollars, considering how important sponsorship money is to sports teams.

Like It or Not, Australians Are Gamblers

Bond, however, added that “like it or not, Australians are gamblers.” He noted that for many people gambling is a harmless pastime. Recreational players do not gamble more than they can afford to lose.

The host also said that, just like some people would spend a lot of money on useless trinkets, he likes to gamble for a shot at winning some money.

Additionally, Bond shared some figures to show that sports betting might not be the biggest problem Australian gamblers face after all. According to the Australian Gambling Research Center, 73% of all adults in the country engage in at least some form of gambling.

Poker Machines Are More Dangerous, Bond Says

Lotteries and scratch tickets are the most popular form with 63.8% of Australians participating. Additionally, 38.1% of adults participate in horse racing bets, while 33.8% wager on sports. In the meantime, 33.4% of adults play poker machines/pokies.

While these figures look fairly balanced, taking a look at the money each vertical brings paints a different picture. While a similar number of people participate in betting and pokies, over half of all money spent on betting is spent on poker machines.

In 2020-2021, Australians spent AUD 24 billion on gambling. Whereas lotteries, the most popular form of gambling, only took AUD 2.8 billion and racing & betting took AUD 5.8 billion, poker machines were singlehandedly responsible for over AUD 12 billion of the total spending.

Bond argued that poker machines are much more dangerous and yet are not as demonized as sports betting.

It is not sports betting that is the great social evil, it is the pokies. They’re less popular than sports betting and cause people to lose far more money.

Caleb Bond, host, Sky News

Bond added that some sports organizations make money from poker machines in their clubs and questioned why this is not talked about.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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