With the 2014 Victorian state election only three weeks away, consider this:
In 2003, the Victorian state government (under Steve Bracks) introduced a host of wide-ranging gambling reforms. These included a complete ban on advertising of poker machines, and strong restrictions on the signage allowed outside poker machine venues.
These restrictions remain in place today and have been arguably the single most effective gambling reform in Victoria’s history.
In 2008, sports betting companies won a constitutional challenge in the Federal court, allowing them to advertise their services interstate. Following this, in 2009 Victoria repealed local advertising restrictions on interstate sports betting companies and the gambling floodgates opened.
The current deluge of sports betting advertising has only been a reality in Victoria since 2009. It is a recent phenomenon that owes nothing to our “love for punting” and everything to the race for ever-growing profits.
It may not be constitutional to prevent gambling companies from advertising interstate. But there’s nothing stopping the Victorian state government from banning the advertising of sports betting in Victoria. The precedent was set eleven years ago.
And interstate bookmakers pay taxes in their home state or territory. With the exception of the TAB, that means anywhere but Victoria.
My question to all parties, ahead of the poll on November 29 2014, is this:
Will you enact a blanket ban on sports betting in Victoria, along the same lines as the existing blanket ban on gaming machines?
And if not: why not?