UNICEF Requests Stricter Betting Ad Laws

Tia Winter | 23 February 2018

In the midst of Australia’s crackdown on gambling on a nationwide scale, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has now urged the country’s government to implement heavier restrictions on the gambling advertisements that are legally permitted to be shown through Australian media channels.

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Back in May of 2017, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that a ban would soon be introduced on all betting ads promoted through radio, television and Internet channels. The ban applies to any local or international sports events that are broadcast live between 5am and 8:30pm on any given day.

However, the Sydney Morning Herald has now reported that although UNICEF has praised the prime minister on his decision to minimise minors’ exposure to betting promotions, it has called for more to be done to protect this vulnerable age group from gambling related harm.

82% of Local Youths Gamble Yearly

UNICEF cited recent research reports in its plea, noting that up to 82% of teenagers have been found to be gambling every year in Australia. A further 15% of adolescents aged between 12 and 17 are also developing serious problem gambling habits, according to the international children’s rights giant.

The Fund has now suggested that the betting advertising ban’s parameters be extended. It has asked that the law be amended to include ‘known peak viewing times’ for children and youngsters under the age of 7pm, which would take the ban’s time frame to 9pm each evening.

UNICEF’s statement on the matter stated that its request requires that children’s best interests should be a firm priority with the Australian government. Thus, the Fund expects that the state should act appropriately by determining the right restriction and implementation measures to protect its younger generations.

Government To Deliberate On Plea

It is well documented by research bodies across the globe that exposure to gambling-related advertising and promotions at a young age can contribute to higher problem gambling rates among a country’s youths.

This is especially true once these individuals come to the age at which they are legally permitted to gamble - and UNICEF’s plea comes at a time when Australia is attempting to lower its gambling addiction rates among all age groups.

The Australian government and its prime minister are now deliberating on the issue and the best way to implement new measures that will shield youngsters from the possible harmful effects of gambling advertising. News on an amendment to the current advertising ban is expected to be released by local lawmakers within the next few months once a concrete decision is made.

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