Although it is both popular and legal to bet on sports in Australia, there has been increasing concern about the boundaries between sporting event broadcasts, commentaries and betting promotion becoming blurred.
Politicians in the Australian state of Western Australia have now decided to introduce legislation aimed at separating live sports gambling news from sporting event broadcasts. They have an especially sharp axe to grind about the effect of live odds advertising on children and youth.
“We don’t want young West Australian fans conditioned to think that gambling is an essential part of their favorite sport. We want them to go to our stadiums to watch their sporting heroes, not the latest odds being offered by the bookmakers to entice people to place a bet,” said the state’s PM, Colin Barnett, adding that “the most worrying aspect is that children watching sporting events are being bombarded with gambling advertising.”
Consequently, the government of Western Australia is about to draft and submit bill aimed at banning all live betting advertisements from match venues.
The move comes in the wake of a similar measure by neighboring South Australia, prohibiting the display of live odds at sporting venues, as well as their broadcast on radio and TV during matches, from next month.
Although Australian gambling laws leave much of the regulation up to the states, there has been increasing political support for a unified federal legislation on the issue of advertising.
According to Western Australia’s Sports and Recreation Minister, Terry Waldron, the state “joined all states and territories in supporting national action to ban the advertising of live gambling odds during sporting broadcasts on television.”
He added that “Western Australia’s major stadiums have taken the proactive step of removing live odds early but with the new ban on broadcasting live odds, bookmakers will be looking for any other avenue to advertise them [and] this legislation closes that window of opportunity.”