Watch any live sport on TV these days and you're likely to see almost as much advertising for betting companies as play on the field. Pop-up ads on the bottom of the screen, betting agency employees posing as expert commentators to give updates on the latest odds and even huge ads painted across the field -- betting has become an inescapable part of watching live sport in Australia, and it's something the Greens want to stamp out.
Australian Greens leader and spokesperson on gambling, Senator Richard Di Natale, announced on Friday that he wants to treat betting ads the same way as smoking ads; that is, to outlaw them.
"The Greens have a bill to stop the promotion of sports betting, in the same way tobacco advertising was banned in 1992. Nobody is saying people shouldn't have the freedom to have a punt if they want, but watching a game of footy shouldn't be like walking into a casino," Di Natale said.
"Sports betting ads still dominate sport with one in six ads aired during the first round of the AFL for sports betting. It's time to take the promotion of gambling out of sport and to stop normalising gambling for our kids."
The Greens bill would ban betting companies from sponsoring teams, as happens prominently in the National Rugby League among other codes. The Brisbane Broncos, for instance, have the logo of betting agency William Hill displayed prominently on the back of their jerseys.
The NRL's website says it has 11 approved sports betting operators.
Di Natale has pushed for reform on sports betting for several years, including this speech to the Senate in 2013.
Di Natale launched the policy on a trip to visit Greens candidate for La Trobe, Tom Cummings.
"I've spoken to people who have given up going to the MCG on game day, who no longer watch the footy with their families, because they couldn't escape the avalanche of betting promotion," Cummings said in a statement.
"Sports betting, like tobacco, is an adult product; it can, and does, cause a great deal of harm. It's time bookmakers accepted that. Let's get their ads off our screens and out of our stadiums, and let's get back to enjoying sport again."
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