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Sky News Host Criticizes Focus on Betting Ads While Ignoring Pokies

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Caleb Bond, a Sky News host, has voiced his concerns about Australia’s upcoming restrictions on gambling ads during sports events. While there is widespread support for these restrictions, Bond questions whether sports betting is truly the “big evil” some believe it to be.

Australia is moving towards a significant clampdown on gambling advertisements in sports. The Parliamentary Standing Committee has suggested a complete ban on online gambling ads during sports events, a move that has also been supported by opposition leaders. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also expressed his displeasure with wagering promotions during sporting events, further emphasizing the bipartisan backing for such a ban.

Bond highlighted that with the expected restrictions on the horizon, clubs are already bracing themselves for the financial impact. The potential ban on ads could cost NRL clubs millions of dollars, as sponsorship money is crucial for these sports teams.

Australians and Their Gambling Habits

Despite the looming ad restrictions, Bond pointed out that gambling is a part of Australian culture. He stated that “like it or not, Australians are gamblers.” Many people view gambling as a harmless activity and do not bet more than they can afford to lose. Bond likened his gambling habits to people spending money on trivial items, viewing it as a chance to win some money.

like it or not, Australians are gamblers

He backed up his points with statistics from the Australian Gambling Research Centre. According to the center, 73% of Australian adults engage in some form of gambling. The most popular forms of gambling include lotteries and scratch tickets, with 63.8% of Australians participating. Horse racing bets attract 38.1% of adults, while 33.8% wager on sports, and 33.4% play poker machines, also known as pokies.

It is not sports betting that is the great social evil, it is the pokies. They’re less popular than sports betting and cause people to lose far more money.

Caleb Bond, host, Sky News

The Real Danger: Poker Machines

While these numbers appear balanced, Bond noted that the financial impact tells a different story. Despite a similar number of people participating in betting and pokies, a significant portion of the money spent on gambling goes to poker machines. In the 2020-2021 period, Australians spent AUD 24 billion on gambling. Lotteries, the most popular form, accounted for AUD 2.8 billion, and racing and betting took AUD 5.8 billion. However, poker machines alone were responsible for over AUD 12 billion of the total spending.

Bond argued that poker machines pose a greater danger compared to sports betting. He noted that despite being less popular than sports betting, pokies cause people to lose significantly more money. “It is not sports betting that is the great social evil; it is the pokies,” Bond stated. He emphasized that poker machines are far more destructive yet do not receive the same level of criticism as sports betting.

Hidden Revenue from Poker Machines

Additionally, Bond pointed out that some sports organizations benefit financially from poker machines in their clubs, raising questions about the lack of discussion on this issue. He suggested that the focus on banning sports betting ads might be misplaced when poker machines are a more significant problem.

In conclusion, while there is strong support for banning gambling ads in sports, Bond believes the attention should instead be on the more dangerous impact of poker machines.

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