Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Gambling’

Government blueprint for TV self regulation of sports gambling ads

In Gambling, Margo Kingston on May 26, 2013 at 11:23 AM

UPDATE 2 May 27: Why won’t PM Gillard close the loophole which allows gambling ads during sports broadcasts in children’s viewing time? Extracts from her doorstop transcript:

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, if you want to get rid of the influence of gambling in sport, why don’t you go as far as to ban any gambling related advertisements even through half time onward?

PM: Well we considered that but the proposal that we’re announcing today, we believe, gets the balance right between protecting the community from gaming and the influence of gaming and making sure that there is an appropriate revenue stream for broadcast rights for our sporting codes.

People want to watch great sporting matches on TV. Obviously that’s got to stack up as an economic model for broadcasters, so we believe that what we’ve announced today gets that balance right…

We’ve needed to get the balance right between that and the economic proposition that brings those great matches to our screens.

And what that means is it’s got to stack up for the broadcasters to pay the money to the codes to have access to the game, to put it on TV, so you and I can sit there and watch it.

We think we’ve got the balance right because people know when half time is, they know when, if they’re watching AFL, quarter time and three-quarter time are.

That means if you’re sitting there and you don’t want to watch any gambling advertisements, then have a chat amongst yourselves, go and get a drink, have a little wander around, settle back in for the next section of play.

You can watch every moment of the match and not see a gambling ad and not hear any reference to live odds.

Margo, UPDATE 1 May 26: Here are some key documents in the latest Government attempt to make this issue go away. First, thanks to Fairfax Media Press Gallery journalist Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan), for a background paper given to journos on Sunday morning, then the apparent backdown by ALP backbencher Stephen Hones on his pledge to seek Caucus approval for a private members bill to ban gambling ads during sports broadcasts in kids time. The PM’s official statement, issued later on Sunday to accompany her doorstop announcement, follows.

The government’s policy is so minimalist the gambling and TV industry have rushed to say yes to the PM’s get out of jail free card. Note there is no ad ban, even in childrens’ viewing time.



All promotions of odds by gambling companies and commentators will be banned during the broadcast of live sports matches, under new rules.

The Gillard Government has demanded that Australia’s broadcasters amend their broadcasting codes in the following ways to ensure a reduction in the promotion and advertising of gambling during sport:

• All promotion of betting odds on broadcast media will be prohibited during live sports matches. This includes by gambling companies and commentators.

• All generic gambling broadcast advertisements will be banned during play. Advertisements of this sort would only be allowed before or after a game; or during a scheduled break in play, such as quarter-time and half-time or the end of a set.

• Banner adverts, sponsorship logos, and other broadcast promotions must not appear during play. Read the rest of this entry »

Time to shred the old ‘Gambling Action Response’ script, Conroy

In Gambling, Tom Cummings on May 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Cartoon by Nicholson from “The Australian” newspaper:

Cartoon by Nicholson from “The Australian” newspaper:

By Tom Cummings
@NoFibs Gambling Reporter

May 22, 2013

There’s a script floating around Canberra, called the “Gambling Action Response” script. It’s a succinct little document that gets dusted off and put into action every time someone has the temerity to suggest that maybe, just maybe, we need to do something about the widespread incursion of gambling into every corner of our lives.

Remember poker machines? They used to be THE hot gambling topic not so long ago. There was strong public support for changes to the poker machine industry and the pokies themselves, and the cause was led by a couple of politicians who championed their cause as hard as they could.

Both major parties fell over themselves agreeing that something needed to be done. Committees were formed and hearings held around the country. Commitments were made, only to be weakened, diluted and finally broken altogether. What was offered up in the end was little more than a shadow of the original intent, and even that looks unlikely to come into effect.

And the poker machine industry? They howled and campaigned and agitated, then went very quiet. And now almost everyone has forgotten about them, and moved on to the next story.

That’s the “Gambling Action Response” script at work. It goes like this:

  • Promise the world
  • Create committees and talk about the problem
  • Find reasons not to keep the promise
  • Offer a cut-down, ineffective solution, preferably with a catchy slogan
  • Congratulate yourselves on a job well done

Now the hot gambling topic is sports betting advertising. It’s everywhere, and the public is (for the most part) sick of it. Much of the outrage is directed at Tom Waterhouse but he’s merely the most aggressive, most recognisable face of an industry that is buying advertising space at a rate never seen before. TV. Radio. Newspapers. Trains. Trams. Billboards. Football jerseys. Sporting stadiums. Scoreboards. Train stations. Sporting associations. It’s a relentless onslaught with no end in sight.

The public backlash has been strong and savage, and has not gone unnoticed. All sides of politics have expressed their dismay at the state of affairs and have promised action. Sadly, that promise of action has dwindled to a token attack on the promotion of “live odds”, and has mostly ignored everything else. The Government and the Opposition have both made a lot of noise about banning live odds, and the industry Code of Practice is also being modified to reflect this… but the rest of the sports betting advertising deluge, more than 90% of the advertising in fact, will be unaffected.

Not every politician is playing this game. Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has a bill before the Senate proposing a ban on all gambling ads before 9pm, and a blanket ban on the promotion of live odds. Labor MP Stephen Jones will soon put a motion before caucus proposing a similar bill which he hopes will get formal government backing. Both men have been publicly praised for their endeavours… but Di Natale’s bill drew criticism and condemnation in the Senate, with Liberal and Labor Senators joining forces to oppose it (see details below). It will be another month before it is discussed again but the prospects are bleak.

As for Jones, it is unlikely that caucus will support his proposal, given that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy reportedly drafted the guidelines for the industry Code of Practice updates, to allow bookmakers to keep advertising live odds in sports broadcasts.

Once again, the “Gambling Action Response” script has been brought into play. What started out as a real, effective response to an uncontrolled surge in advertising is petering out to a limp, ineffective token effort which will ultimately achieve nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

Life after pokies: A grassroots fightback

In Gambling, Tom Cummings on February 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Tom Cummings

Tom Cummings

By Tom Cummings (@cyenne40)
February 25, 2013

There are an awful  lot of pubs and clubs in Australia. I should know; I’ve visited a lot of them. Country clubs, city pubs and everything in between; from Mooloolabah to Blacktown to Bright, and more besides. I’ve spent plenty of time in watering holes up and down the length of Australia’s east coast, and I’ve learned one fundamental truth.

There are two types of pub in Australia, two types of club. Those with poker machines, and those without. No matter how you dress them up with fancy decor and boutique beers, or dress them down with fence-paling bars and chooks out the back, in the end it’s the pokies that are the difference.

Pokies pubs and clubs have a very different atmosphere to their pokie-free cousins. It’s almost a sense of distraction; everyone knows that the pokies are where the money is coming from, even though in many cases they seem embarrassed to admit it. In fact, in a lot of venues (pub venues mainly) the gaming rooms are hidden away, and every effort is made to pretend they don’t exist. Clubs, on the other hand, have a tendency to put their machines smack bang in the middle of everything. It’s hard to convey a sense of community belonging when all around you, money is being siphoned away at high speed.

Now, I freely admit to having a particular bias on this topic. I would much rather walk a mile or two to another venue than give my custom to a pokies pub, and the reason is simple. As a young man, I poured years of my life and thousands upon thousands of dollars into poker machines. I was on the hook, and no amount of wriggling could get me off it until pretty much everything I had and everyone I knew was gone. So these days, older and wiser, I look at the pubs and clubs with their gaming rooms and their glitzy signs, and I walk on.

And I’m not alone in feeling this way. Here in my home state of Victoria, there have been a number of battles waged over the past few years, by residents fighting to slow down or prevent the spread of poker machines into their communities. Romsey’s fight took them to the Supreme Court, Jan Juc marshalled their resistance via Facebook and most recently, Castlemaine won a landmark VCAT decision after years of unified persistence. Sadly though, the truth is that for each of these victories, many more battles are lost, and venues approved… and so the poker machines continue to hold sway.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Because the reality is that there’s actually a third type of pub out there, a third type of club which is bucking the trend and, essentially, making a stand. These are the venues that had poker machines, that knew what they meant in terms of income and revenue… and said, no more.


These are the venues that have handed back their poker machines, and started life anew. In many ways they’re just like me; they’ve broken free from the addiction that pokies brings, and made a decision to change. It’s a massive decision to make; believe me, when you’ve been on the receiving end of the kind of money poker machines can bring in, it’s damn hard to walk away. But for some people, it was the right thing to do… indeed, it was the only thing to do. Read the rest of this entry »