Television stations in Australia could be banned from showing live betting odds during certain sports broadcasts. Leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives, Tony Abbott, is said to be considering a gambling policy which would forbid the airing of such odds during cricket and football games. According to Abbott, this move is in response to “growing community concern” about the impact on children watching sports at home and the “temptation it creates for problem gamblers”.
The option being looked at would allow horse racing odds during broadcasts but for other sports it would be restricted to before the game or at half-time, but as Abbott puts it “not broadcast while the game is in play”. Apparently, during the cricket last summer many sports-watching parents in Australia complained about the frequent mention of betting odds during the commentary. Sure they did…
The Liberal’s will release a discussion paper today on gaming reform which includes the possibility of national training for workers in the gambling industry to identify problem gamblers.
Seriously, if they took the time to look into what constitutes a “problem gambler” they might see it’s more to do with their addictive personalities than how much more exposed to gambling they are. Take for instance when a Harvard professor found that despite a greater availability of games, the ratio of “pathological gamblers” (those addicted to gambling) has remained relatively stable in the last 35 years. It has not grown even during the era of strong growth in the online gambling industry. Try arguing with the academics, Abbott.
The news will not be welcomed by Aussie gaming operator TAB Sportsbet, who have recently added live sports video to its online book service. But at least there’s one person talking some sense down under over the discussion paper. The Greens’ gambling spokesman, Senator Richard Di Natale, said the Coalition discussion paper was “a hollow, shallow, meaningless document”.
He added: “It looks like it’s been written by the pokies industry for the pokies industry. It’s weak on pokies and tough on their competitors, such as online gambling.”