top of page

Predatory gambling ads must be part of nation’s online safety regime

17 Apr 2024

The Federal Government must urgently act to close a loophole that excludes predatory online gambling advertising targeting children from being included in the nation’s basic online safety code.

Under current definitions the nation’s Basic Online Safety Expectations (BOSE) gambling advertising is not included among online harms such as hate speech, cyber-bullying and child sexual exploitation.

“The warp-speed growth of online gambling advertising – particularly targeting children and young people – means the government must act urgently to update its actions to protect people online,” the chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, said.
“Online gambling is the fastest growing form of gambling in Australia today, it has a turnover of $50b and the losses are devastating especially to young men who are targeted by its advertising.”

Ms Bennett said given the aim of the BOSE Determination was to protect Australians from abusive and harmful content online there must be a much broader definition to include the appalling harms of online gambling advertising.

In its submission to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts consultation, the Alliance underscored the massive public health issue that was fuelled by gambling.

“Australians lose over $25 billion each year to gambling, the highest per capita spend in the world.  These losses are disproportionately experienced by the people who can least afford it: people living with financial and other forms of stress, and people with mental health issues and addiction problems,” The Alliance’s submission said.
“Gambling harm is a massive public health issue, linked to poor physical and mental health, poverty and homelessness, criminal activity, family violence, and suicide. “

The Alliance is extremely concerned about the rapidly increasing harms caused by online gambling, and by the massive advertising of online gambling through a range of media including digital/social media channels. 

These concerns have been borne out by the recent findings of a Parliamentary inquiry.  The subsequent report, You win some, you lose more, found that the growing links between sport and gambling were causing increasingly widespread and serious harm to individuals, families, and communities. 

The inquiry reported that repeated gambling can cause changes to the brain which are similar to those observed in addiction to psychoactive substances; and that Australians who gamble online are significantly more likely to report experiencing harm than those who engage in other modes of gambling.

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

bottom of page