More info on ‘Australians are the biggest losers in the world when it comes to gambling’
Australian Committee Urges Comprehensive Measures to Tackle Online Gambling Harms
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has released its highly anticipated report on the inquiry into online gambling and its detrimental effects on individuals facing gambling-related issues. Chair of the Committee, Ms Peta Murphy MP, expressed concern over the significant toll gambling has taken on Australians, stating that the nation has become the world’s biggest victims of this pervasive issue. She highlighted the intrinsic link between sports and gambling in Australian culture and emphasized that these intertwined behaviors are causing severe harm to individuals, families, and communities.
The report puts forth a comprehensive set of 31 recommendations that aim to minimize harm inflicted by online gambling by adopting a public health approach. One key proposal is the development and implementation of a comprehensive national strategy by the Australian Government to address the reduction of harm caused by online gambling. This initiative would be supported by national regulations, the establishment of an online gambling ombudsman, the imposition of a harm reduction levy on online wagering service providers (WSPs), the launch of a public education campaign, increased independent research, and enhanced data collection.
Ms Murphy also expressed concerns about the impact of gambling advertising and the normalization of simulated gambling through video games, particularly with regard to the influence on children and young people, who are being groomed to engage in gambling activities and are encouraged to adopt riskier behaviors. The report calls for a phased and comprehensive ban on online gambling advertising within a three-year timeframe. This approach would allow major sports organizations and broadcasters sufficient time to seek alternative sources of advertising and sponsorship while protecting future generations from escalating gambling-related harms.
The Committee’s recommendations also encompass stronger consumer protections for licensed online gambling platforms, such as mandatory customer identity verification by WSPs before accepting bets, a prohibition on inducements, and the introduction of a legislated duty of care. Furthermore, the report advocates for a crackdown on illegal gambling websites.
Ms Murphy further noted that the existing support services are overwhelmed and require immediate enhancement. The report puts forward a range of measures to improve the availability and sufficiency of support and treatment for individuals affected by gambling-related harm, with an additional focus on reducing the stigma preventing many from seeking help.
Regarding the proposed changes to the classification system by the Australian Government, aimed at mitigating harm from social casinos and loot box features in interactive games, the Committee showed its support. The report recommends consistent application of the classification scheme across online app stores, the introduction of a simulated gambling warning label, the enforcement of minimum consumer protections for games, and better education for young people, parents, caregivers, and teachers on the topic of simulated gambling.
For detailed information and a comprehensive list of recommendations, the report titled “You win some, you lose more” can be accessed through the inquiry website.