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In June, a parliamentary inquiry recommended that all gambling advertising be banned. It recommended a four-phase plan that will ultimately ban all forms of gambling advertising in Australia over the next three years.
Naturally, this plan has met backlash, and now lobbyists for the NSW greyhound racing industry claim that an ads ban will kill the industry. They argue that the drastic reduction in ads’ revenues will lead to animal welfare programs’ loss.
The Australian government is considering a plan from a parliamentary inquiry to ban gambling ads throughout Australia. This plan has drawn both praise and criticism since it was announced. Now, lobbyists for the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry are calling for members to actively lobby against the new measures.
On Sunday, The Guardian reported on an email they received from Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW). The email claims that a ban will effectively decimate the industry. Since much of the funding for the sector comes from taxes on wagers, the ban will significantly impact bets.
The emails claim the ban will have “devastating and irreversible consequences for our sport, every dog in it, every person in it, every club, every track, and all those towns and villages in NSW where greyhound racing is a local sport.”
The email also claims that the gambling ban will remove an estimated $20 million annually from the industry. According to a follow-up conversation with the GRNSW, this figure came after the organization reached out to betting partners.
One central talking point that the GRNSW focused on in its email is animal welfare. They first said, “The animal welfare implications alone are huge.” They explained that the ban “would eat up all our welfare programs plus all of GAP [Greyhound Adoption Program] and all rehoming, plus all of our safety programs put together.”
One could argue the effectiveness of animal welfare programs, especially after considering a report on animal injuries for 2022. According to a recent report, animal injuries were at an all-time high last year.
The report found that 67 dogs suffered significant injuries, and 19 greyhounds died. Overall, there were 939 injuries to greyhounds, which represented about 21% of all animals racing. That’s at least two out of every ten dogs receiving some form of injury.
One group believes that the claims from GRNSW are absurd. Kylie Field from the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds also told The Guardian about the gambling ban. She stated, “Similar threats are made whenever the industry is called to account. The only way to improve animal welfare is to phase out greyhound racing.”
Fields continues, “Meanwhile, fleecing problem gamblers is totally unacceptable to most Australians. By seeking to exempt greyhound racing from the recommendations of the gambling inquiry, the dog racing industry is showing its true colours – all it cares about is money.”
GRNSW lobbyists are asking that membership contact the communications minister, social services minister, and sports minister to voice concerns over the ban. Many gambling companies are already actively campaigning against a ban. SportBet is leading the charge, with over $19 million being spent already.
The claim that the reduction in revenues will negatively impact animal safety is clearly a ploy from lobbyists to motivate its membership. However, it is not a good look for the industry. Greyhound racing is already a controversial topic. For those who want the sport banned, this would seem to fuel their argument as it would appear the industry is using animal welfare as a tool to get its way.