Regulated Gambling Industry Sought by Aussie Green Party

In an op-ed article for The Age newspaper, one of the prominent Australian Green Party politicians, Richard Di Natale, complained that the recent boom in advertising for sports betting by wagering companies means that "'s become impossible to watch a game of footy without gambling odds and sports betting advertisements being rammed down our throats."

Citing some interesting numbers, Di Natale claims that the number of betting ads on free-to-air TV quadrupled over the last two years - in 2012 there were 528 individual ads, collectively broadcast more than 20,000 times, which brought a hefty turnover from online betting (sports betting in particular) which has risen from $2.4 billion in 2007 to almost $10 billion in 2012.

However, he said that these numbers do not include illegal offshore operators. Therefore, Di Natale underlined that his party wants the industry to be well-regulated in Australia, in order to prevent driving the activity to "dodgy offshore bookies."

According to him, most people would prefer a democratically elected government to set some ground rules around the promotion of gambling, rather than leave it to an industry "...whose primary motivation is to make a quick buck."

"The time has come for government action and I plan to introduce my bill in the next sitting period. Along with legislation to restrict the promotion of odds during a sports broadcast (by commentators and bookmakers alike), we also need to close the loophole that allows gambling advertisements during kids' viewing times,' he said, adding:

"While gambling advertising is banned in programs that are likely to have a substantial child audience, an exception is made for sports. A change to the law preventing gambling advertisements before 9pm is a simple, common sense solution."

Following up on Di Natale's op-ed, The Age ran a public interactive poll asking the question: "Would you support a ban on gambling advertisements on TV before 9pm?" Reportedly, out of 1,495 readers who responded, 92 percent said they would support such a ban, and 8 percent indicated that they would not.

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