Asia bulletin: Australian sporting authorities reject greater regulation of online gambling

Australia’s biggest sporting authorities have rejected calls for further regulation of online gambling in the nation. This comes despite some of the country’s biggest clubs and athletes raising concerns.

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The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (Compps) has told a federal parliamentary inquiry that current advertising and broadcast restrictions are sufficient alongside action by individual sporting codes.

Jo Setright, Compps’ executive director of policy, said the existing arrangements strike the right balance between “the public interest in watching sport without excessive references to gambling and live odds or undue exposure of viewers including children to gambling promotion,” and “the right of betting operators to advertise their products in a socially responsible manner.”

In a submission to the inquiry, Setright added: “Any measures that impact the advertising revenue model for broadcasters may affect the value of sports’ media rights, which [our] members use to fund their grassroots and game development and other programs.”

Compps represents AFL, NRL, Tennis Australia, Rugby Australia, Football Australia and Netball Australia.

Several athletes and various clubs have been critical of the dominance of risky advertisements. They are concerned gambling is increasingly seen as a normal part of sports.

Meanwhile, NRL clubs South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury Bulldogs announced they would ban betting promotions on ground signage and big screens. They also said they will remove sponsorship from all club apparel.

The parliamentary inquiry chair, Labor MP Peta Murphy, said Compps’ statement was not in line with community sentiment.

Speaking to Guardian Australia, Murphy said: “That does not gel well with the clear community sentiment and it does not gel well with some of the evidence we are receiving from experts about increasing gambling and increasing gambling harm.”

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