Open a newspaper or turn on the evening report these days, and you’re likely to hear one story or another about the legislative push to reduce problem gambling in Australia. So why is a Sports Lottery the best way to fund the nation’s athletic programs?
‘Aussies love to gamble, and the addiction rate is too high – we must do something!‘ This is the message so many politicians are delivering, and signing off on, with new gambling reform measures in the works.
Australia Betting Reform
The government approved a ban against online betting ads during live broadcast sports events before 8.30pm, hoping to curb the addiction of those who suffer from problem gambling in Australia, and prevent the activity from being promoted to children at the same time.
They check-marked a plan to outlaw credit lines in betting, and are on the verge of requiring international online gambling operators to acquire a licence to accept Australian players. All licenced sites won’t be able to offer casino games or poker, and would have to offer a national self-exclusion registry for players, so they can limit and/or exclude themselves from wagering.
All this is meant to take the spotlight off Australia as the world’s leader in gambling addiction. So it’s rather ironic that Sports Minister Greg Hunt came up with the brilliant plan to promote gambling as a way to raise funds for his department’s interests.
Sports Lottery in Australia
Minister Hunt believes the best way to generate much needed funding for the nation’s athletic associations is to institute a national sports lottery. The product would be promoted to, and accessible to, everyone old enough to buy a lottery ticket in Australia.
For the most part, the Sports Lottery would be open to individuals 18 and older. In Western Australia, however, the legal age to purchase a lottery ticket is now16.
So while we’re telling problem gamblers that the government is here to help them, and shading the eyes of children against the act of gambling, we’re also busy setting up a new plan to promote more gambling, and to people as young as 16?
Hunt Says Sports Lottery Necessary
Minister Hunt has defended his plan to the hilt, and is all set to incorporate a sports lottery into the 2017-18 budget, pending public discussion and approval.
“The question of funding is always important. This plan will consider, with a strong bias towards support, a national sports lottery,” said Hunt.
“There are great examples around the world, most notably the UK, of funding on a secure basis coming from a national sports lottery,” he argued.
The Sports Minister was asked, point blank, if he thought a sports lottery would contribute to problem gambling in Australia, and again he pointed to the UK as an example of success for “public-good”. In fact, he really enjoyed using that term, uttering it four times in a matter of just a few sentences.
“The way this works is this is a public-good lottery and that concept is something that is well accepted. We see in Western Australia a public-good lottery, we see in the United Kingdom public-good lotteries.
“That’s a very accepted approach and it is a sensible way to provide additional permanent sports funding which I think is fair, reasonable [and] appropriate. If you have it legislated and highly regulated and it’s a public-good lottery then that’s sensible.”
Gambling in Australia for ‘Public-Good’
I guess the hope is that if you say “public-good” enough times, everyone will believe this pending form of Australia betting really is for the good of the public.
As for me, I don’t see anything wrong with launching a sports lottery. I’m sure the athletic associations, including the AU Olympic team, could really use the projected $50 million a year Hunt says it would raise.
What bothers me most is the contradiction between government policies and proposals. Less gambling, more gambling, which is it? All the government really seems to want is a shiny reputation, without giving up all the money they collect from various forms of gambling in Australia.