Canberra: An Australian parliamentary committee on Wednesday recommended a ban on gambling advertising in the country within three years.
The standing committee on social policy and legal affairs tabled a report from its inquiry into online gambling and its impacts, reports Xinhua news agency.
After months of hearings and submissions, the committee made 31 recommendations including a comprehensive ban on all forms of advertising for online gambling, to be introduced in four phases, over three years.
Peta Murphy, chair of the committee, said the three-year time frame would give sports broadcasters time to find alternative advertisers.
“Australians are the biggest losers in the world when it comes to gambling. We have a culture where sports and gambling are intrinsically linked. These behaviors are causing increasingly widespread and serious harm to individuals, families, and communities,” she said in a statement.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), citizens lost approximately A$25 billion ($16 billion) on gambling in the financial year 2018-19, representing the largest per capita losses in the world.
The inquiry also called on the federal government to implement a comprehensive national strategy on online gambling harm reduction, supported by national regulation, an online gambling ombudsman, a harm reduction levy on online wagering service providers, a public education campaign, more independent research and improved data collection.
It recommended a crackdown on illegal gambling websites and a requirement for gambling companies to verify a customer’s identity before accepting their bets.