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Online gambling promotions, also known as inducements, have been a part of iGaming since its inception. However, if a Parliamentary committee has their way, it could be a thing of the past.
Last week, a Parliamentary report studying online gambling was released with several recommendations. Among those recommendations are a complete ban on online gambling ads and eliminating inducements. While much of the media has focused on potential gambling ad bans, some feel that banning inducements will have a greater impact.
The Standing Committee on Social Policy and Affairs released a report entitled “You Win Some, You Lose More” last week. This report studied online gambling and its impacts on problem gamblers. As a result of the study, the committee made 31 recommendations.
Of the recommendations, the following would have the most impact on the iGaming industry in Australia.
Furthermore, multiple recommendations focus on online gaming with simulated gambling elements. The recommendations include identifying games with simulated gambling elements and requiring those games to have options to disable those elements.
A report from The Guardian implies that a phased-out approach to banning gambling ads may be too slow. The AFL Fan Association claims fans fully support a ban on gambling ads but feel that a phased-out approach is too slow.
Under the report’s recommendations, the phase-out will come in four phases. It would start with inducement bans and slowly phase out broadcast ads and online gambling sponsorships.
Ron Issko, AFLFA president, hopes a compromise can be made for timing. He stated, “I am hoping there are little changes made along the way and so that by the time we get to three years, it is completely gone.”
“For them to lose that revenue overnight will realistically result in a big hole in their budget. There needs to be dialogue and discussion about slowly reducing the number of ads and a gradual way to ban it.”
The AFL is one league that will be the least impacted by gambling ad bans. Many clubs have already cut ties with gambling advertisers. All Victorian teams are part of the “love the game, not the odds” program from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. The program provides education to young fans about gambling and its dangers.
While a ban on gambling ads would be a big blow to the industry, some feel that banning inducements will do more to harm gambling companies. The Guardian published a report and spoke with several key industry insiders. Some voiced that an ads ban is hard to measure, but an inducements ban would directly impact business.
Palmerbet head of regulation and compliance Mitch Reid stated that an inducements ban is the most significant recommendation. He says, “Banning inducements would have an immediate impact, given the importance they have to the ecosystem of the industry, and the amount they ultimately contribute to prize money, wages, animal welfare and the integrity functions for racing and sport.”
To clarify things, a ban on inducements would eliminate all online casino promotions. Players would no longer be able to take advantage of welcome bonuses, free spins offers, or any offers that typically appeal to new players.
Unfortunately, politicians are using the same tired arguments to justify further restricting one’s right to gamble online. The government claims that inducements are used to attract and retain problem gamblers by offering deals that are too good to pass on. They also claim inducements normalise gambling to children. While we understand wanting to improve the industry to help problem gamblers and protect children, it should not be done by penalising those that gamble responsibly