Peter Dutton's pledge to ban gambling advertising during live match broadcasts has been met with praise, though experts caution the measure doesn't go far enough.
Carol Bennett, chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform said that while "any strengthening of the weak laws we have on sports gambling advertising is good," the Coalition's promise fell short of needed reform.
"Sports wagering is the fastest growing form of gambling in Australia with losses now amounting to more than $7 billion annually," Ms Bennett said.
"It's a ruthless, poorly regulated industry that targets young people ... Only a total ban on advertising will work."
Ms Bennett noted that a 2018 decision to restrict gambling advertising during live sport in Victoria resulted in a 50 per cent increase in the total volume of gambling ads across television and radio.
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation wrote in a discussion paper this year that this finding "indicates that rather than reduce the volume of gambling advertising, the restrictions have led to them being dispersed into general programming".
"The intention to protect children who watch live sport was offset by the increase in gambling ads shown across many other TV programs and during times when children would be watching," the discussion paper continued.
The opposition leader made his surprise policy announcement during his budget reply speech on Thursday night, adding that the Coalition, if elected, would also ban sports betting ads one hour either side of a sporting game.
Dutton said the "bombardment of betting ads takes the joy out of televised sports" and is "normalising gambling at a young age".
Member for Clark Andrew Wilkie also welcomed Dutton's pledge, along with the Albanese government's recent commitment to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling.
But Mr Wilkie cautioned that "neither the government or the opposition can think those two commitments is the job done".
"A lot of Australians, a lot of people want to see a complete ban on all platforms, including on the sports ground where, you know, currently ads are on footy jumpers on shorts, on billboards, on bunting, around the ground," he said.
Mr Wilkie said he believed "both the government and the opposition are genuinely committed to limited reform, are genuinely mindful of the needed for limited reform ... but neither are inclined to go all the way, for a range of reasons".
He noted that gambling advertising provided a major source of revenue for the media and sporting codes, neither of whom the government or opposition wants to face backlash from.
"This doesn't let [the government or opposition] off the hook - I'm not excusing them for it. I think they should stand up to these powerful interests. But it does help to explain why I believe their interest is strictly limited," he said.
The opposition leader will soon be asked to stand by his promise when Zoe Daniel, independent member for Goldstein, introduces her bill to ban gambling ads when parliament returns in less than two weeks.
In response to Dutton's Thursday night speech, Ms Daniel tweeted that she "look[s] forward to the Coalition supporting my private members bill to ban gambling ads which I will table next sitting".
The bill will go further than Dutton's pledge, and will seek to amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to ban gambling ads across free-to-air, pay TV and their streaming services, like Kayo Sports and Flash.
There are signs that Ms Daniel's bill could garner support from across party lines.
Liberal MP Russell Broadbent seconded her motion to have the bill considered in Parliament. Ms Daniel said she was also planning to reach out to Mr Dutton to discuss the issue.
Asked whether the Albanese government would consider such a ban, Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland noted the ongoing parliamentary inquiry into online gambling and said the government would "consider the Committee's recommendations when it releases its final report".