The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has today tabled the report of its inquiry into online gambling and its impacts on those experiencing gambling harm. Chair of the Committee, Ms Peta Murphy MP, said ‘Australians are the biggest losers in the world when it comes to gambling. We have a culture where sport and gambling are intrinsically linked. These behaviours are causing increasingly widespread and serious harm to individuals, families, and communities.’
The report provides 31 recommendations that apply a public health lens to online gambling to reduce harm to Australians. This includes the Australian Government developing and implementing a comprehensive national strategy on online gambling harm reduction, supported by national regulation, an online gambling ombudsman, a harm reduction levy on online wagering service providers (WSPs), a public education campaign, more independent research and improved data collection.
Ms Murphy said, ‘Gambling advertising and simulated gambling through video games, is grooming children and young people to gamble and encourages riskier behaviour. The torrent of advertising is inescapable. It is manipulating an impressionable and vulnerable audience to gamble online.’
‘A phased, comprehensive ban on online gambling advertising is recommended within three years. This will give major sports and broadcasters time to find alternative advertisers and sponsors, while preventing another generation from experiencing escalating gambling harm.’ Ms Murphy said.
‘The Committee has also recommended stronger consumer protections for licenced online gambling, including a requirement for WSPs to verify their customer’s identity before accepting bets from them, a ban on inducements and a legislated duty of care. We have also called for a crackdown on illegal gambling websites.’
‘Currently our support services, where they are appropriately targeted, are overwhelmed. We have recommended a range of measures to improve the availability and adequacy of the support and treatment available to those experiencing gambling harm, and to reduce stigma which is currently preventing many from seeking help.’ Ms Murphy said.
Ms Murphy added, ‘The Committee supports the Australian Government’s proposed changes to the classification system to reduce the risk of harm from social casinos and loot box features in interactive games. We have recommended the classification scheme be consistently applied across online app stores, that a simulated gambling warning label be developed, that minimum consumer protections be applied to games and better education for young people, parents, caregivers and teachers about simulated gambling.’
The report, You win some, you lose more, and the Committee’s complete list of recommendations can be accessed via the inquiry website.
Ms Murphy will launch the report at a press conference at 9.30 am AEST on Wednesday, 28 June 2023 at the Melbourne CPO, 4 Treasury Place, East Melbourne, Victoria. Journalists will need to show their credentials on arrival.
Ms Peta Murphy MP
03 9781 2333
For background information
02 6277 2358