a gambling question to all parties in the 2014 victorian state election

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 Following this, in 2009 Victoria repealed local advertising restrictions on interstate sports betting companies and the gambling floodgates opened.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?

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2 Responses

  1. Kate Sommerville says:

    What is the pay off for the silence around the advertising of sports betting? Governments get taxation from pokies – we know how much – but what do they get from sports betting? I agree with you that all the advertising is concerning and even offensive in its cunning and reach.

    By the time of the Bracks reforms around pokie advertising pokies were entrenched in Victorian communities in local hotels and clubs so perhaps the advertising reforms were closing the stable door after the horse had bolted.

    The Government needs to implement more significant pokie reforms like $1.00 maximum bets to genuinely indicate its concern.

  2. Tim Falkiner says:

    The State Government needs to do something about the NT bookies but it must be very careful if it seeks to treat the NT bookies differently from the Victorian licensed bookmaker. In my view it needs to explore not only a “level playing field” legislative scheme but also a uniform taxation system that taxes all Victorians who place a bet in Victoria with the taxes being collected and paid by the bookmaker wherever situate. If this arrangement does not survive a section 92 challenge then the racing industry in Victoria is probably going to break a leg in the long term.

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