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PM must act on minister conflicted by Sportsbet donations
Public can no longer have faith in Rowland presiding over gambling issues

9 Feb 2023

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has called on the Prime Minister to take immediate action against Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, in the wake of evidence that Sportsbet donated almost $19,000 to her on the eve of the last election.


The Alliance’s Chief Advocate, Tim Costello, said the public could no longer have faith that Rowland can effectively carry out her responsibilities as a key decision-maker on policies affecting Sportsbet as the minister who oversees the Interactive Gambling Act and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


“Be it a conflict of interest or even a perceived conflict of interest, the minister must not stay in her role where she is responsible for the regulation of online gambling advertising,” Rev. Costello said.
“Surely the Prime Minister must hold his ministers to account as stated in his own Code of Conduct for Ministers and take action against this minister if she does not stand down. 
“There is white-hot anger among the public on the tsunami of sports betting advertisements that are bombarding our kids and warping our sporting culture. Yet this minister has had little interest in considering any real reforms.”


Rev. Costello said Australia had become the wild-west when it came to the proliferation of sports gambling advertising.


The best figures available show an average of 948 gambling ads ran on free-to-air TV every day in Victoria in 2021, with 148 ads airing between the traditional family viewing time of 6.00-8.30pm. Figures for other states aren’t accessible but it is expected to mirror these Victorian figures.


That reflects a 153% increase since 2016, surpassing the ad spend by the alcohol industry, and delivering an ad on our screens every minute of every day.


The Alliance is a national advocacy organisation which works to prevent and minimise the harm from gambling. Our aim is to remove the shame that surrounds gambling, have the problem treated as a public health issue, and achieve the legislative changes needed to protect our communities.




Tim Costello is available for interview

 Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

See here for a gambling language guide for journalists.

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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