Tabcorp Chief Airs Concerns for Excessive Gambling Ads

Tabcorp Chief Airs Concerns for Excessive Gambling Ads, Unlicensed Operators and Outdated Laws

The Chairperson at Tabcorp, Paula Dwyer, spoke at the Annual General meeting last October 28, 2015, in which she conveyed several concerns regarding the state of the gambling industry within the country.

Concerns over Excessive Gambling Ads

Her first area of concern is the alarming increase in gambling advertisements. Ms. Dwyer stated that the staggering AU$89 million spent on gambling advertisements this year, represents a 34 percent increase of last year's figure. The Tabcorp Chief attributes the rapid increase to fierce competition among the continuously rising number of betting facilities. Ms. Dwyer specifically pointed out that TV gambling advertisements must be controlled, as critics have raised concerns that young viewers, especially children, are being bombarded with betting ads.

Although Tabcorp's TAB brand is likewise a major advertiser, she said she shares the public's concern for the excessiveness of the gambling ads. She believes there are legitimate concerns not only for the growing scale but also for the fact that Australian states and territories have different regulatory stance. Add to those an estimated 2,500 unlicensed offshore online gambling operators who offer betting products and accept wagers from Australian punters. The unsanctioned online betting activities within the country, pose as threat to the integrity of Australia's racing and sport industry.

In order to create a level playing field for all betting operators, Ms. Dwyer calls for clear national regulatory measures aimed at addressing the rocketing amounts of gambling advertising expenditures. She believes that federal regulations will help temper the abundance of gambling ads flooding the country.

Issues Raised against Unlicensed Online Gambling Operators

The Tabcorp Chairman mentioned the federal government's ongoing review of unlawful online gambling, citing the initiative as an opportunity for setting a set of protocol for the gambling industry, and for redefining the concept of Internet-based gambling. She argues that it is after all for the best interest of everyone because the industry produces revenues for the government, which subsequently reverts to the community.

Ms. Dwyer is calling on the government to focus its attention to the proliferation of unlicensed operators that to date is estimated to number around 2,500. She gave emphasis to the two purposes for which gambling businesses are required to secure a license. The first is to ensure that gambling products are offered responsibly and the related activities regulated accordingly. The other purpose is to empower governments to take a share of the revenue generated by the industry to be returned to community members.

The Tabcorp Chairperson, pointed it out in her speech that as it is, unlicensed operators of online gambling facilities can operate without the need to put in place responsible gambling measures and other forms of consumer protection. Moreover, the racing industries in Australian states are deprived of gambling turnovers.

Modernization of Internet Gambling Act

Inasmuch as the existing regulatory framework in the country is a hodge-podge of state and national laws that do not necessarily work together, particularly in the online gambling space, Ms. Dwyer also echoed the calls for modernizing Australia's Internet Gambling Act (IGA). She cited as example the lack of enforcement actions on the supposed breach of gambling laws that prohibit the placing of bets via the Internet.