Zali Steggall MP calls for restrictions on gambling advertising

14 June 2023


I rise to support the motion to suspend standing orders to urgently debate the bill put forward to ban gambling advertising by the member for Goldstein and I thank her for bringing that on with urgency. As a parent, it is incredibly distressing to see the prevalence of gambling advertising, but it is urgent that we debate this bill today because we owe the Australian people leadership. That is what the purpose of this place is. We must step in. The government must step in and enact regulation and ensure there are protections in place when we have a rampant harm occurring and that is what the gambling industry is. Let's call it out for what it actually is.

If I can draw on my sporting background, in the 1990s we realise that drugs in sport was a major issue and had major implications and we acted - governments around the world acted around drugs in sport and gambling harm, but now, let's call it for what it is. Gambling is the modern-day drug of sport. It is impacting the health of Australians and sometimes children as young as 12 being targeted by gambling advertising. We know it is impacting the enjoyment and the participation in sport, but it is a hound that is so great to Australians in our community, is doing immense harm to Australians. We spend more on gambling per capita than any other country - around $1300 per month and in 2020-21 we lost over $25 billion in gambling and more importantly we lost loved ones, families and relationships broke down. People were hurt and abused. Mental health suffered.

Over one-third of Australians gamble in a typical month and the losses are 20 per cent higher than in other countries because of our sports betting advertising regulation. Prior to 1993 you had gambling with the TOB and then government stepped in, deregulated, allowed gambling advertising on all sports and what we have seen is this accelerated growth of harm and impact in the community. Sports betting advertising is everywhere. It is on the TV. It is in the social media. It targets people. It is on radio, print, jerseys, around the stadium and it is pushed to people non-stop. We are world leaders in gambling and by urgently debating and passing this bill we can be world leaders in preventing these harms. We did it with tobacco. We lead the way. We can do it with gambling. Stop gambling ads now by debating this bill.