At the start of this year - 2016 - the Institute of Public Affairs submitted their review on the impact of illegal offshore wagering - or sports betting and online gambling basically, and it's fair to say that it was rather confronting and certainly not what Australia's legal gambling industry wanted to hear...
IPA's Submission (PDF)
It was no surprise that the IPA submission paid little regard to the vast human misery and financial loss suffered by Australia’s hundreds of thousands of problem gamblers and their families. (see current gambling statistics in Australia)
Thus the submission, authored by Chris Berg and Simon Breheny, decreed controls on gambling to be paternalistic and to have
“no legitimate place in a free and liberal society”. “Paternalism treats citizens like subordinates. The paternalist’s model of irrational individual choice is starkly at odds with the democratic philosophy of individual choice.”
In other words, winners are grinners and losers should just suck it up.
But other parts of the IPA submission would have wiped the grins off the faces of Australian gambling company executives, for the ideologues had no sympathy for them either.
And They're Off! - Australian Online Bookmakers Seeing Red
Chris Berg and Simon Breheny from the IPA continued to bring the point home and left no room for the William Hills, Ladbrokes and SportsBet executives to move.
Gamblers should be just as free to bet with offshore as onshore providers, the authors said. Any “restraints on trade” in the form of laws limiting the operations of overseas betting agencies would harm both consumers and the “competitive dynamism” of the global wagering industry.
“While the growth in corporate bookmaking has been a welcome increase in choice,” said Berg and Breheny, “limiting Australian consumers to Australian wagering firms is unjustifiable on any economic grounds.”
Stabbed in the Back(Maker)
The funniest thing about this last insult read: recommendation from the IPA is that it completely contradicted what the Online bookmakers had thought they were trying to do! The purpose, as far as they were concerned, was to persuade government that they needed protection from overseas operators but instead the recommendations merely supported the very offshore bookies they were fighting.
So What Does That Mean For Sports Advertising & The Future Of Sports Betting in Australia?
Between the financial arguement, the economic implications and the underlying political tension that arises everytime you mention online gambling, sports betting and anything related to gambling related tax revenue it seems the powers that be will forever be chasing their tails and unravelling the red tape they seem to enjoy finding themselves in.
Bottom line, those ubiquitous ads will keep appearing on your TV whenever you watch sport.
If you are watching with your children and feel the need to explain gambling to them, you could do it in the way the IPA explained it to the O’Farrell review, as “a way human beings come to terms with risk, understand uncertainty, and engage with the metaphysical concept of chance”.
Or you could just hit the mute button on your remote.
Learn more here -> Sports Gambling & The Barry O'Farrell Review
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