Dear Prime Minister Gillard,
We’re writing to you because we want to see change when it comes to gambling and sport.
We’re writing to you about live odds, about televised betting advertisements, and about punter’s updates.
We’re writing to you because we don’t understand how gambling is allowed in TV programs that are rated PG and are watched by children.
We’re writing to you because we fear that we’re creating a generation that automatically associates sport with gambling.
We’re writing to you because we want it to stop. We’re writing to you because we know you agree AND that you have the power to do something about it.
You said on the ABC’s Q and A program earlier this month that: “I would have to say, as someone who watches sport, it drives me absolutely nuts.”
You said that “Too many of our kids actually view sport through the prism of the odds and the betting, instead of viewing sport as to what is happening on the field and who is doing what and who is exhibiting great skill and who is falling behind.”
You said that you were “very concerned about it”.
Well, so are we.
Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world. That’s not something to be proud of – that’s something we should be determined to change. Because while many in our community do gamble responsibly, many do not.
According to your own Government’s website, problem gamblers lose on average $21,000 a year, which is a third of the average Australian’s yearly salary.
That’s money flowing out of the pockets of families who need it – families who have electricity bills, school uniforms and petrol to pay for – and into the pockets of bookies.
Problem gambling has the potential to ruin lives. Not just of the problem gambler themselves but of their partner, their parents, their friends and their kids. And yet we are allowing our country’s favourite national pastime – cheering on our team at the footy or cricket – to be taken over by gambling.