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Velimir Velichkov November 28, 2023 3 min read
Victoria Inquiry Supports Safeguarding the Public from Gambling Harm
The Victorian Labor government asked the Commonwealth Government for changes related to the gambling regulations to reduce problem gambling and harm
Gambling is identified as a public health issue in Australia, considering that hundreds of millions of dollars are lost to the activity on a monthly basis. The growing popularity of gambling activities pushed lawmakers to take action and attempt to curb the rate of problem gambling and gambling harm by overhauling the existing regulations.
Now, a new inquiry by the Victorian Labor government urges the Commonwealth Government to implement meaningful changes to protect consumers from excessive gambling and harm.
The new 240-page document describes findings for the prevalence, harm and benefits of gambling and liquor, the regulation of gambling, the prevalence and harm of online gambling as well as reducing gambling harm. Besides detailed findings, the report outlines important recommendations, calling for robust changes to the established regulations with the ultimate goal of protecting the consumers.
Issued by the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, the new report describes a worrying trend about the impact of sports betting and excessive gambling advertising, calling for changes to prevent and reduce gambling harm. Sarah Connolly MP, the Committee’s chair, wrote about the positive changes in Victoria involving the reduction of harm related to alcohol and gambling products. Yet, she warned that more needs to be done to protect communities across Victoria.
According to Connolly, the government needs to step up and implement further changes that safeguard users from gambling and alcohol-related harm. Overall, the new inquiry issued 61 recommendations that according to the Committee, can bring meaningful changes. “More appropriate regulations and safeguards are needed to protect Victorians, especially our children and young people,” wrote Connolly.
Restricting Primetime Gambling Advertising
The newly released report cited data from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, which revealed that in 2021, an average of 948 gambling ads were broadcast daily via free-to-air TV. During family viewing hours between 6 PM and 8:30 PM every weeknight, an average of 148 gambling ads were broadcast.
Considering this data, the inquiry recommended stricter rules for primetime gambling advertising. The inquiry proposed the implementation of rules such as the ones that were recently adopted by the South Australian Government.
When it comes to sports betting, the inquiry identified it as the “fastest growing form of gambling in Victoria and the fastest growing form of online gambling in Australia.” Citing data from the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, the inquiry reiterated that more than AU$1.2 billion ($792.7 million) is lost to sports betting annually. Moreover, it warned that some 44% of the adults in Australia admitted to gambling on sports or racing in 2022.