Dutton and Albanese

14 May 2023


Industry News

Peter Dutton proposes betting ad ban during sports broadcasts, as PM says review underway

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to comment directly on Peter Dutton's proposal to ban sports betting advertisements during broadcasts, saying a review is underway. Dutton's suggestion has received support from opposition leader Anthony Albanese, who called the "bombardment" of gaming advertisements during sports broadcasts "annoying" and proposed a ban. However, Albanese was cautious not to pre-empt the ongoing review on the issue. The government has previously strengthened advertising guidelines regarding gambling, pursued new mandatory harm minimisation messages on advertisements, and banned credit cards used for online wagering, restricting gambling-like activity in video games. If the government banishes gambling advertisements during sporting events, the gaming sector will likely push back against the decision. The commercial television industry's peak organization has already objected to the proposed ban, indicating that it would result in a significant backlash.

Peter Dutton, a member of the Liberal Party of Australia, has proposed restricting betting advertising during sports matches, citing the need for “family time” during such events. Dutton’s proposal was met with agreement from Anthony Albanese, leader of the opposition Labor Party, who expressed annoyance with the barrage of such ads during sporting events. However, Albanese also stated that there is an ongoing review of the issue and declined to pre-empt its findings. The review was initiated by the Labor government, which has already strengthened advertising guidelines on gambling and taken steps towards harm minimization and reducing access to credit for online betting.

Dutton’s advocacy for the ban has surprised some, given that the Coalition government “did nothing for nine years on any of those issues,” according to Albanese. The prime minister noted that the government has already pursued measures to address problem gambling and promote responsible advertising, including mandatory harm minimisation messages and restrictions on gambling-like activity in video games. However, any ban on betting advertising would face significant opposition from the gaming industry and broadcasters, who stand to lose hundreds of millions in advertising revenue.

In addition to the betting ad ban, Dutton also withheld support for the government’s proposed increase to the jobseeker rate, instead calling for welfare recipients to be able to earn more before payments are reduced. Albanese rebuked Dutton’s criticism of Labor’s immigration policies, arguing that politicians are responsible for keeping debates factual. The opposition leader also highlighted concerns about rising extremism in the wake of clashes between neo-Nazi and anti-fascist groups in Melbourne and comments by US President Joe Biden that white supremacy is the “most dangerous terrorist threat” to the United States.

Despite these challenges, Albanese and the prime minister expressed confidence in the Australian people’s tolerance and respectfulness. They also emphasized the importance of factual debate and responsible leadership in addressing complex issues like problem gambling and extremism. As the review into betting advertising continues, it remains to be seen whether a ban will be implemented and how it will affect the gaming industry and the wider community.