The Public Health Association of Australia say they applaud the final report from the parliamentary inquiry into online gambling ads, and its recommendations for a public health approach to tackling the ads scourge.
The new report is called You Win Some, You Lose More.
According to PHAA CEO, Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin, ‘It’s an excellent document that determines the extent of the problem, cites evidence, including from people with lived experience and numerous other experts, and lists 31 recommendations.
‘We welcome its public health approach which includes restrictions, regulations and levies, education campaigns, more independent research into gambling and associated harms, and treatment and support programs across all jurisdictions,’ he said.
‘There’s a weight of evidence over decades that shows a suite of actions works to address many other health harms. It’s essential that the Australian government acts now, despite the fightback which the gambling industry and its associated partners will mount.’
Three years too slow
Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin says the PHAA appreciates that the committee has accepted the case that online advertising causes multiple preventable harms, but suggests that three years to phase-in restrictions is too long to wait.
‘The committee, Prime Minister Albanese, Opposition Leader Dutton, and the wider community all want to see this problem addressed,’ he said.
‘It’s imperative the Australian government take this chance for bipartisanship and work quickly to protect people from the proven harms of online gambling advertising.’
‘We urge the government outlaw all forms of gambling advertising, despite the financial hits it may cause to government revenues, commercial media companies, and professional sporting bodies,’ said Adjunct Professor Slevin.
‘Just like with historic tobacco advertising bans, the health and social costs to people who have been harmed by gambling is too important for the government to ignore.’
Donations must be banned
The PHAA submission also outlined the wider case for banning political donations from multiple industries.
‘PHAA supports bans on all donations from specific business sectors for which there is clear evidence of association with harmful products, services, or industrial processes (‘unhealthy corporate sectors’), which most certainly includes gambling industries,’ said Adjunct Professor Slevin.
‘We know that public opinion in Australia appears to be firmly behind regulatory constraints on unhealthy business sectors making donations to political parties, or political parties accepting such donations.
‘Let’s not pretend what we’re seeing here is a genuine test of money versus community interests, and we’ll see who wins,’ he said.
‘This is the start of a fight over billions of dollars with a very wealthy and influential gathering of linked industry groups. They are commercial media, the advertising industry, professional sports as well as the gambling companies both domestic and international, and they will not accept this lying down.
‘In a cost-of-living crisis, with gambling harm often decimating the finances of the most vulnerable people in society, we urge the government stands firm, resists push back from the wealthy and powerful vested interests, and makes this reform happen,’ saidAdjunct Professor Terry Slevin.
The Public Health Association of Australia is the peak national body for public health.