Thursday April 18, 2013 : AUSSIE GREEN PARTY WANTS A REGULATED GAMBLING INDUSTRY
 
A well-regulated gambling industry is preferable to driving the activity to dodgy offshore bookies, says Greens Party politician
 
The vocal Australian Green Party politician, Richard Di Natale, disclosed some interesting sports betting statistics Thursday in an op-ed article for The Age newspaper.
 
He claims that in recent years the explosion in advertising for sports betting by wagering companies means that "…it's become impossible to watch a game of footy without gambling odds and sports betting advertisements being rammed down our throats."
 
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, he writes.
 
And it’s effective – turnover from online betting, of which sports betting is a major component, has risen from $2.4 billion in 2007 to almost $10 billion in 2012, the politician claims, cautioning that that figure does not include illegal offshore operators offering wagering services to Australian residents.
 
Di Natale says his party supports the idea of a well-regulated industry in Australia, rather than driving the activity to what he alleges are "dodgy offshore bookies."
 
He argues that 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 politician plans to introduce a regulatory measure in the next sitting of Parliament, he says, advising:
 
"The time has come for government action and I plan to introduce my bill in the next sitting period. Along with legalization 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.
 
"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," he says.
 
Di Natale is the Greens spokesperson for health, sport and gambling and is a former VFA footballer.
 
In conjunction with 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?"
 
1,495 readers responded, with 92 percent saying they would support such a ban, and 8 percent indicating that they would not.