TV gambling ads to be restricted under federal government media changes

Riverina gambling counsellor Rob Nickle has welcomed a move to restrict sport betting advertising, but would prefer to see it scrapped altogether.

The federal government wants to see gambling ads banned from live sports broadcasts before 8.30pm and for five minutes before and after the start of play.

However, the Mission Australia worker said such advertising should be prohibited to reduce the impacts of sports betting on problem gamblers, their families and the broader community.

“By reducing exposure to sports betting, you go a long way in reducing the negative impacts of problem gambling,” Mr Nickle said.

“The issue is increasing, particularly among young males.

“Sports betting is everywhere and we know that clients experiencing problems with sports betting often say how difficult it is to manage because of the saturation of gambling advertising during sporting events as well as 24 hour access on the internet and mobile phones.

“It really makes giving up gambling a very challenging task.” 

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Vulnerable people who use gambling as a coping strategy for dealing with problems and distress reportedly found it caused many disruptions in their lives including psychological, physical, spiritual, social or vocational problems.

“We know from our service experience that those who are problem gamblers are being exposed to sports betting opportunities regularly and are not only experiencing financial crisis, but also a range of other concerns including relationship breakdown, homelessness and depression,” Mr Nickle said.

“That’s why these changes are so important, so that as the industry grows, we can enforce measures that will minimise harm for people who are problem gamblers or at risk of becoming a problem gambler.”