1 Nov 2020 by Rev Dr John Squires in: Letters, Thoughts, News

Sign the petition to #EndGamblingAds

It is finals time. Perhaps you have been enjoying the football finals in recent days, watching the final of your preferred sport from the comfort of your own home?

It will soon be Melbourne Cup time. Perhaps you are planning to watch the Melbourne Cup run, even though people will not be allowed to watch directly on the track?

Have you noticed the number of advertisements for gambling that are shown during these and other sporting events?

While millions of Australians stayed home to protect the most vulnerable amongst us, the gambling industry has been pouring big bucks into advertising in an effort to exploit us all.

During the height of the pandemic, with no major sport in sight, they continued serving gambling ads to house-bound families, promoting everything from the outcome of The Bachelor to the colour of Scott Morrison’s tie. Now, I see that you can even bet here in Australia on the outcome of the US Presidential Election.

Gambling is a blight on our society. For some people, it is highly addictive—for too many people. Gambling debts contribute to poverty. They lead to increased use of alcohol and drugs. They contribute to friction and arguments in families. The World Health organisation has reported that over one third of people with gambling problems are involved in domestic violence incidents. Children are impacted through the family violence that occurs, as well as the reduction in health and wellbeing. See https://aifs.gov.au/agrc/publications/impact-gambling-problems-families/what-are-impacts-gambling-problems-families

This week I signed a petition to #EndGamblingAds. The petition is an initiative of the Alliance for Gambling Reform and is supported by councils, community, health and faith organisations across Australia.  I encourage you also to sign the petition to #EndGamblingAds. Go to https://www.endgamblingads.org.au/

John Squires
Presbytery Minister—Wellbeing