Lisa Cheban | 18 September, 2023 12:41 | Last update on: 18 September, 2023 12:41
In June this year, the Australian parliamentary committee formed to investigate the effects of gambling ads released its report. The committee proposed a phased ban on these adverts, taking up to 3 years. Since then, the report has had its fair share of backers and critics.
The latest voice to oppose the report is the New South Wales greyhound racing industry, which pleaded with members to petition federal ministers against outlawing gambling advertising. The Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) claims doing so will lead to dog suffering and force animal welfare organisations to close down. In addition, the body says the move would adversely affect the sector because greyhound races receive funding from state taxes on gambling.
A press email sent out by the organisation reads: “It would 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 animal welfare implications alone are huge.”
According to the organisation, the proposed ban on gambling adverts would cost the NSW greyhound racing business more than $20 million annually. GRNSW stated that the number came up after discussions with its betting partners. The body says this loss would affect its Greyhound Adoption Program, rehoming, and other welfare activities.
Phasing Out Greyhound Racing Would Improve Animal Welfare
According to a report from the New South Wales’ industry regulator, last winter had the highest number of greyhound injuries in the sport since 2018. The regulator revealed that more than 60 dogs suffered from “major” injuries between July and September 2022. The report added that 19 dogs died with 939 injuries in all categories.
With the backing of these numbers, Kylie Field, Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds’ spokesperson, stated it was ludicrous to assert that banning gambling ads would lead to greyhound suffering. He said the industry has experienced “similar threats” whenever accountability questions arise, adding that banning greyhound racing is the only solution to improve animal welfare.
“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,” the official fumed.
GRNSW’s chief executive, Rob Macaulay, claimed that the organisation had already contacted the federal government about the issues. He stated this was a burning issue for the state during this economically challenging period. Macaulay added that GRNSW had an excellent discussion with the federal government and looks forward to striking the right balance.
But GRNSW is not alone in discouraging the government from banning betting adverts nationwide. Leading betting companies are lobbying federal ministers to ignore the inquiry’s findings.
SportsBet, the largest online bookmaker in Australia, has publicly lobbied against a complete prohibition of betting advertising. This comes as the Flutter-owned betting brand was recently criticised for upping its marketing spending by $19 million in the first half of the year in anticipation of the looming crackdown.