Online gambling is an emerging threat to those susceptible to problem gambling.
As World Vision chief executive, Tim Costello, has said before, with online gambling you can lose your house without ever leaving it.
Online gambling sites are officially illegal in Australia, but many Australians still gamble on overseas sites which are unregulated and do not offer any real player protections. Australia already has difficulty dealing with the harm caused by poker machines in the community because of their rapid liberalisation, and we should learn from this experience.
Here in Australia, we have also seen a rapid growth in illegal and legal sports betting.
I believe this growth in sports betting has the potential to destroy the sporting codes we love. Sports betting encourages corruption in sport, and we have seen the damage sports betting has done to the integrity of many games. We can’t allow this to happen in Australia.
We also have to get the advertising of sports betting off the TV, out of commentaries and away from sports venues. Going to the footy or the cricket should be a family event. It should not be a gambling event. The last thing I want to see is young kids as a football match quoting odds, not player statistics. Gambling shouldn’t be normalised in the minds of children through the advertising of sports betting.
Accordingly, I have introduced the Interactive Gambling and Broadcasting Amendment (Online Transactions and Other Measures) Bill 2011 to the Senate, which will tighten the regulations surrounding online gambling and clamp down on sports betting, including banning all forms of spot betting.
I do not believe that now is the time to open up the industry further and I am very concerned by the Federal Government's recent push to liberalise online gambling. (Click here to read the Interim Report into the Review of the Interactive Gambling Act)