Australian government commences wide ranging online gambling inquiry

The Australian government has launched an inquiry into the country’s online gambling ecosystem which will delve into the impacts this has on those with gambling problems.

This will see the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs look into a number of issues, such as appropraites of regulation amid emerging tech, advertising and the relationship between the industry and sport.

Peta Murphy, Chair of the Committee, commented: “The inquiry will be a fresh look at online gambling and whether current laws, regulations, consumer protections and education and support programs are enough to reduce harm to gamblers.

“The Committee is concerned about the increasing reach of online gambling platforms into Australians’ lives, the exposure of children and young people to gambling advertising and how this may contribute to increases in problem gambling in the future.”

Among the issues to be examined is the effectiveness of existing consumer protections aimed at reducing online problem gambling, as well as how to reduce the potential exploitation of at-risk people, and protect individuals, families and communities.

The effectiveness of current gambling advertising restrictions on limiting children’s exposure to gambling products and services, such as the promotion of betting odds during live sport broadcasts, will also be looked into

This will include consideration of the impact of advertising through social media, sponsorship or branding from licensed online gambling operators.

Furthermore the effectiveness of current counselling and support services, harm minimisation and consumer protection efforts and protections against illegal online gambling services will also be placed under the microscope.

The committee will also assess the quality of, and access to, protective online gambling education programs, as well as the appropriateness of the definition of ‘gambling service’ in the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 and if this should be amended to include additional activities, such as loot boxes and social casino games.

The Committee is seeking written submissions, ideally of no more than ten pages, from individuals and organisations providing recommendations relating to any or all of the inquiry terms of reference by November 11, 2022.