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Silence on gambling reform comes amid news of political donations

11 May 2022

The failure of the major political parties to campaign on gambling reform, such as restricting sports gambling advertising to protect children, is appalling, according to the chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello.

The silence on gambling reforms comes amid new revelations that the gambling industry has poured $18 million into the state and territories in recent years. This comes on top of the $50 million in political donations made in the last decade at the Commonwealth level.

Rev. Costello said the scale of the political donations coming from the gambling industry highlighted he dire need for reform on the nation’s political donation system.

“There is widespread outrage by parents at not being able to protect their kids from this insidious advertising. The first and primary responsibility of adults is to protect children from adult products,” Rev Costello said.
“It is tragic that only a very few candidates in this election are willing to speak out during this campaign. Nor that political journalists have asked questions on the issue.”

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s election policy platform calls for bans on donations from any gambling license holder, including Board or committee members or gambling license holders or their peak bodies to political parties and candidate.

It also calls for a ban on all sports gambling advertising on television, radio and online.

"Last year sports gambling advertising soared to $287m and that’s before the value of online ads is included. The industry is increasingly aggressive and will not self-regulate,” Rev Costello said. “Australia led the world in important public health and public interest actions in banning tobacco advertising. It is possible. We owe it to our kids to do it again.”

Mr Costello said beyond sports gambling reform Australia urgently needed other reforms to protect the community against the harms of gambling such as the creation of a national casino regulator and online gambling ombudsman.

The last two years have seen a series of unparalleled judicial inquiries into casinos in Australia. They have revealed a consistent failure both of self-regulation and also state government regulation of casinos. A similar problem exists with online gambling.

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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