Jeff Kennett (pictured, wearing clothes), former premier of the Australian state of Victoria, wants to ban bookmakers from engaging in advertising, sponsorship or any other promotion of their wares based on his belief that Australia’s youth are being led off the garden path and toward a false idol promising untold riches, spot-free complexions and rock-hard erections that last for days with no lasting ill-effects. Or something.
Kennett acknowledged that former Aussie PM Julia Gillard had compelled the betting industry to adopt stricter advertising codes of conduct but Kennett insisted that the national airwaves were still subject to “saturation promotion and advertising” which led him to conclude: “Voluntary codes don’t work.”
Kennett told Fairfax Media that the betting industry was “educating generations of young Australians that the only way people have a successful life is by gambling,” as anyone who ever saw Sportingbet’s “Sod school – Bet your tuition and Miranda Kerr will come over to your filthy bedsit and shag you blind’ promo can attest. (What? You didn’t see that promo? Perhaps our imagination is as inventive as Kennett’s.) Anyway, it’s the government’s job to lie to children.
Kennett also acknowledged that he was the Dr. Frankenstein who inadvertently gave birth to this betting advertising monster. Two decades ago, when he was still premier, Kennett opened the floodgates to corporate bookies by privatizing Victoria’s TAB. Kennett says he never foresaw the long-term effects of his decision but he now realizes that he’d done wrong. So, to sum up, Kennett says he made a bad decision that had terrible consequences for the nation but he had no way of knowing that at the time. Anyway, the point is he’s thinking clearly now. He’s sure of it.
Kennett told The Age that he’s begun approaching federal politicians of all stripes to sound them out about making a concerted push to enact a countrywide ban on bookie advertising. One of the first pols to lend Kennett a receptive ear was none other than Sen. Nick Xenophon, a reliable go-to source when you want to equate betting with Beelzebub.
Xenophon, who has over the years called for bans on all sports betting, in-play betting, election betting, social gaming and (we imagine) the musical Annie for the lyric ‘bet your bottom dollar,’ has made video poker (pokies) machines the most recent target of his anti-betting ire. Specifically, Xenophon told News.com.au that he wants the $10k pokies jackpot reporting threshold lowered to $1k in order to prevent “criminals and drug dealers” from laundering money. Xenophon has previously proposed similar legislation back in 2012 but it went nowhere.