Welcome to December
What a year it has been for gambling reform! Our Annual Report 2022-23 outlined a huge number of achievements, all of which are slowly pushing us towards a public health approach to addressing the huge losses and harms experienced by Australians. Unfortunately, we are still by far the country with the largest per capita losses anywhere in the world.
Perhaps the most poignant achievement this year was the ‘Murphy Report’: You Win Some You Lose More delivered to the Federal Government in June. While we still await a response to the critical 31 recommendations from the Federal Government, the clarity and truth of this multi-party report is undeniable. We have called on the federal government to respond to the Murphy report as a matter of urgency and supported Dr Monique Ryan’s bill to increase political transparency.
It was with great sadness that we received the news of Chair of the Inquiry, Peta Murphy’s passing in early December. We have indeed lost a courageous and authentic champion for gambling reform in the federal government. Vale Peta Murphy.
Our joint release with Transparency International of new analysis of political lobbying highlighted that the gambling industry hires more lobbyists than almost any other harmful product industry in Australia. This fact might help explain why Australia leads the world in losses and harms as well as lax regulation.
It’s somewhat disturbing to see the major parties confirming Australians concerns that they are captured by industry interests when seemingly innocuous decisions in the community interest are declined. One such example occurred when the senate rejected a call from Independent Senator David Pocock to stop political parties from receiving donations from big gambling. While the government had no difficulty accepting the same push on tobacco in the same week in another bill, it seems that gambling is a different ballgame altogether. And it underlines why the crossbench have become so important in gambling reform – they are highlighting and proposing much needed reform that reflects public interest.
As the much-welcomed credit legislation was passed this week (with quite a few loopholes), it reminded me of the work of Zoe Daniel and Rebekha Sharkie over the past 12 months. They have put up multiple private members bills this year seeking to deliver greater transparency and gambling reform. In fact, most of the crossbenchers have engaged in gambling reform to some degree. With our political system now dominated by vested interests, the need for politicians who represent the public interest is never more important.
And on that note, the Alliance released a poll in early December undertaken by Pure Profile that showed that 77.6% of Australians think there is too much gambling advertising in sport. Another 71.3% think it should be banned from sport altogether. A clarion call to the federal government that gambling advertising is a hot button issue for Australians. Let’s hope they heed that call in their response to the ‘Murphy report’ and agree to the clear recommendation to phase in a ban of gambling advertising over three years among other important reforms.
The Alliance has contributed to several important reviews and inquiries this year, and on 1 December Tim and I gave evidence to the Queensland casinos inquiry. We urged all recommendations from the Gotterson review into the Star casino be adopted by the Queensland government and in particular, a mandatory pre-commitment carded system with binding and default limits. Hopefully the outcomes will mirror the very strong report from the Public Account and Estimates Committee (which the Alliance also provided a submission and evidence to) in Victoria which urged the Victorian government to adopt a solid blueprint for reducing gambling harm in Victoria.
Finally, for those wanting to choose a pokies free venue we have created a map to guide gambling free decisions this festive season!
Thanks again for your support in 2023 – without your generosity and contribution to our work, we would not exist.
Please enjoy a safe and peaceful Christmas period and we look forward to working with all our supporters to see important gambling reforms take effect in 2024!
Welcome to our OCTOBER NEWSLETTER
Gambling Harm Awareness Week in October provided a good opportunity to celebrate progress being made around the country on gambling reform, while pushing for further reform addressing the escalating national losses and other gambling harms.
And with poker machine losses at $14.5b across five states - 13.7% higher than the last full pre-covid year 2018-19, Australians are coming in first as the world biggest gambling losers by a mile. It all seems at odds with the current cost of living crisis, but in another way makes sense that when people are feeling pressure they might be seeking out a quick win or a way to escape the daily reality. Either way, as the tagline says ‘chances are you are about to lose’ and these losses translate into significant and growing harm across our communities.
Welcome to our MAY NEWSLETTER
Our joint symposium Tackling Gambling Harm in Australia, co-hosted with the Public Health Association of Australia, was held on Monday 1 May in Adelaide. It was a pre-preventive health conference event and provided an excellent opportunity to partner with the health sector to bring together more than 100 people to hear from Australia’s leading experts in gambling harm. The symposium provided a focus on finding solutions to address the harm that can and does arise from gambling. The need for gambling harm to be a recognised public health issue underpinned by a national strategy and real investment in prevention, treatment, support and research was a key outcome.
Important and overdue reform including a ban on gambling advertising was given high priority by participants at the symposium. Its high on the Alliance’s list of priorities too. A huge thank you to those who are making a regular donation of $10 a month to support our End Gambling Ads Campaign! As the Alliance does not receive state or federal government funding, this support is invaluable in enabling us to do our policy and advocacy work.
Welcome to our SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER
There is usually a lull in Canberra over the winter break from parliament, but for those of us working towards gambling reform, this has been a very busy period. The Federal Parliament is now focusing on gambling reform, especially in the wake of the federal inquiry into online gambling and its impact on those experiencing gambling harm. Change is on the way.
Tim and I had the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese to discuss the reforms and the Alliance’s views on the government’s response to the inquiry report. We have also met with the Leader of the Federal Opposition, Peter Dutton; Office of the Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland; Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth; federal crossbench MPs and Greens Senator Janet Rice to discuss the way forward on online gambling.
Welcome to our MARCH NEWSLETTER
There is so much potential for gambling reform on so many fronts and featuring highly on both State and Commonwealth agendas. The chorus of voices calling for our political leaders to step up and do something to remove the hold that gambling has over every aspect of our lives from our sport to advertising, online to our phones – we are saturated in availability of gambling products at every turn.
Welcome to our JUNE NEWSLETTER
The Alliance for Gambling Reform is making a difference. We have seen real progress in gambling reform thanks to the tireless work and support of a growing movement for change. The last few weeks alone has seen:
three private members bills tabled in federal parliament to ban gambling ads
significant fines imposed on Crown Casino (to date now around $750m in total!)
a decision by the NT government not to grant 20 additional poker machine licenses in Alice Springs with community campaigning at an all-time high
a focus on the role of sporting codes in promoting gambling
calls for strengthened privacy legislation to protect our kids from gambling companies collecting their data (and we join in a Digital Rights Watch campaign)
several motions from Councils adopted at the Australian Local Government Association conference to reduce gambling harm
a campaign by local MLA Marisa Paterson in Canberra to make a new development ‘pokies free’
And then the Guardian banned all forms of gambling advertising globally – which meant not taking an estimated millions of dollars in advertising revenue!