Public Interest Debate: Gambling Advertising
19th October 2022
Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) (17:32): I note briefly the hypocrisy of governments across Australia around the issue of gaming, particularly online gaming. It should certainly be pointed out here in New South Wales. The year was 2012. We just had an O'Farrell-slide, with 150 Liberal members elected to this Legislative Assembly.
[A Government member interjected.]
Yes, Barry did need to cull some members and he got it down to a reasonable number. One of those members elected was Graham Annesley, who became the sport Minister in around 2012. We were all heartily sick to death of one particular name—Tom Waterhouse. I do not know whether this was because of the advertising or his appearance, with his beautiful, lustrous black hair. Tom was ubiquitous on television selling the odds and signing people up to his sports betting app. You just could not escape Tom Waterhouse on television. What happened after that was maybe an inadvertent sellout, but it was certainly quite obvious when major United Kingdom online betting agency Ladbrokes appeared in Australia. One of the most frequented walkways in the Sydney CBD is the Martin Place underpass. It was taken over by Ladbrokes for a couple of months. Every square inch of that walkway was covered with Ladbrokes advertisements—nobody could escape it. It is particularly telling that this was government-owned space. It was not an option of a private company that wanted to sell; it was the Government. Government property was sold out to Ladbrokes. We now know it was our old mate Tom Waterhouse.
In about 2012 in this Chamber I asked Graham Annesley a question and he was absolutely outraged by what was happening. He was concerned about the welfare of our community, particularly our children, and the integrity of sport. He spoke to that and undertook to do something about it. The reality is that it is not easy. I understand the Government's position and I have spoken to Minister Anderson and his staff. I understand it is a very difficult thing, and much of it is within the Commonwealth jurisdiction. But guess who is the biggest advocate? Who should be the champion of the people of New South Wales who are heartily sick of having this type of advertising on our televisions, radios and online services day after day, night after night? It is the State Government. It is the Government's responsibility to be the champion of the people of New South Wales and to do something, rather than to say, "Oh, there's some negotiation going on. It's got to be across the board."
We are the most populous State in Australia, and it is time we did something about it rather than let it boil away like the proverbial frog in the water. We are now at a point where there seems to have been a drop in advertising after Tom Waterhouse sold to William Hill. After the pushback against the Waterhouse family and his brand, there seemed to be a bit of a let up. But that wave of Tom Waterhouse has become a tsunami of other companies: PointsBet, Ladbrokes, TAB, Neds, Unibet, BETZ, Betfred, bet365, BlueBet, Centrebet, Sportsbet et cetera. It is just incredible. When I watch YouTube I keep getting Ladbrokes advertisements despite clicking the option to stop because it is inappropriate. It is nasty stuff and the advertisements just keep coming back. My 11-year-old granddaughter is a darling. She is a good girl. She was not mucking around looking at anything untoward on YouTube but guess what popped up? A Sportsbet ad popped up right in the middle of a child's game. It has to stop. The New South Wales Government must do more to champion for the people of New South Wales. [Time expired.]
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