Gambling Foundations Insist Ads Are The Problem, Not Shady Offshore Betting

Gambling Foundations Insist Ads Are The Problem, Not Shady Offshore Betting
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While Barry O’Farrell continues to hunt down offshore betting, the gambling industry is promising its the ads that are the ones being naughty and encouraging the nasty habit.

Former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell is leading the war on gambling marketing with his review into illegal offshore wagering, but has been told to politely take his business elsewhere and instead focus on banning TV ads by licensed Aussie bookmakers during child-friendly hours.

The federal government reckons Aussies bet around $1 billion per year, and offshore bookmakers help this along by operating beyond the reach of domestic laws and gambling regulations.

But the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) has called bullshit and said the actual amount is “far lower”, with as few as one in 1000 using offshore accounts to bet.

The Foundation is swaying O’Farrell in the direction of gambling advertising during PG periods, which only slip through a loophole during sporting events broadcast in child viewing hours. The VRGF is throwing O’Farrell off the scent by advocating a ban on all gambling ads before 9pm.

Senator Nick Xenophon, a passionate champion for anti-gambling campaigns, said sporting codes are putting the gambling dollar ahead of the welfare of their fans, according to reports from The Australian.

“They effectively are facilitating more addiction, more problems amongst their very fans and also increasing the risk of a major betting scandal that will deeply damage the integrity of their sporting codes.,” he said.

The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS), which represents the AFL, the rugby codes, soccer, tennis, cricket and netball, has warned O’Farrell’s review that while regulations ban licensed bookmakers accepting in-play bets, punters are being guided to offshore betting hubs that allow for an “integrity blind spot”.

Under the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, bookies can accept in-play bets on horse races but not on other sports, and the COMPPS have lodged a submission that supports the Australian Wagering Council’s call to remove these restrictions.

O’Farrell is due to report his findings this month to Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

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