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Public Health Legislation Prohibiting Sports-Embedded Gambling Advertisting


Australian Federal Labor, Green and Independent politicians have recently called for a blanket ban on sports-embedded gambling advertising (SEGA), and the Prime Minister has announced that such advertising would be banned during live sporting telecasts before 8.30pm. A considerable body of research establishes the adverse public health impacts of such gambling. The decision of the Australian High Court in Betfair Pty Ltd v Western Australia (2008) 234 CLR 418 paved the way, however, for an expansive online Australian sports-betting market for both interstate operators and internationally located gambling companies. The combination of widespread internet access and smart phone usage has resulted in an environment where placing a bet is more likely to occur in the home in front of children, hence the concern about its “normalisation”. Elite sports people have made public pronouncements that SEGA is now excessive, inconsistent with blanket prohibitions on gambling by elite sports people and damaging to public health. This column critically examines the regulatory landscape governing the advertisement, sponsorship and promotion of SEGA within Australian sport and why the current Bills on this topic do not go far enough.

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