Australian gambling companies accused of targeting children with advertising

The Alliance for Gambling Reform claims that over 430,000 people under the age of 16 are likely betting online in Australia, with Reverend Tim Costello saying the lack of federal regulation on gambling advertising is set to have ‘horrific and lifelong’ implications.

Speaking to parliamentarians reviewing gambling reform in the country, Costello noted he has changed his mind on gambling losses, having first believed that Australians liked to gamble more than anyone else, to now believing that it is due to a lack of regulation.

“The truth is, we’ve had the worst policies, the least regulation of gambling,” Costello told the reform inquiry. “That is why we have the greatest losses.”

The reform alliance meanwhile criticised the Government for failing to view gambling as a serious public health issue.

Last month, Ladbrokes and Sportsbet defended their heavy advertising presence in Australia amid the inquiry examining whether laws do enough to protect children from exposure to gambling ads.

Writing to the parliamentary inquiry, the bookmakers made note of their efforts promoting responsible gambling tools, in a bid to explain their understanding of their responsibility to protect young people.

Along with acknowledging that more solutions are needed to protect minors, Sportsbet noted there is “significant community interest” in its advertising, adding that it is committed to ensuring its approach to advertising is “sustainable and in line with community expectations.”

Ladbrokes owner Entain meanwhile noted that it supports laws banning gambling advertisements on TV during child-friendly hours, as well as showing odds in live sport broadcasts.

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