Democrats challenge majors on gambling

Former member for Dunkley, the late Peta Murphy, was a staunch advocate for reducing the harmful effects of gambling on the community. Ms Murphy chaired the Parliament inquiry into gambling and tabled her report in June last year – You Win Some, You Lose More

Heath McKenzie, Australian Democrats candidate for Dunkley said: 

Despite the hard work of Peta Murphy and her committee, there has been little action on her recommendations by the Albanese government, and we have heard nothing from the Liberal Party on their policies to reduce gambling harm.

 In the last financial year people in the Frankston council area of the Dunkley electorate lost nearly $68m on electronic gambling machines, or $586 per adult. We don’t know how much was spent on on-line gambling because that information is difficult to collect. Unfortunately, Australians are the biggest losers in the world on gambling, and with on-line gambling the problem is getting worse.

There are several factors increasing gambling harm in Australia. The industry is poorly regulated at a Federal level and Australia has very lax gambling rules. 

Disturbingly, the gambling industry in Australia hires twice as many lobbyists as the tobacco and alcohol industries combined. The gambling companies are also big donors to the Labor and Liberal parties.

See here for the Democrats platform for gambling reform. Key elements include: 

  • A ban on advertising of all gambling products;
  • Prevent gambling companies donating to political parties;
  • Hand control of casino regulation to the Federal government; and
  • Implement the 31 recommendations of the Peta Murphy report to government. 

Here’s why we need reform:

Australians lose over $25 billion each year on legal forms of gambling, and they lose the most per capita from on-line gambling.

The proportion of Australians who participate in on-line gambling has increased from 12.6% in 2011 to 44% in 2022.

Over 2/3 of people who gambled on sports, racing, and electronic gaming machines are considered as being at risk of harm. 

The “You Win Some- You Lose More” report recommended that the phasing out of online gambling advertising commence immediately. The report also recommended that gambling harm be treated as a major public health issue.

500,000 Australians have already asked their banks to place gambling blocks on their accounts. Tighter controls on payment methods are required.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform reported that 77.6% of Australians think there is too much gambling advertising in sport. Another 71.3% think it should be banned from sport altogether.

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