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Odds publicizing prohibition in Australia

In a bid to curb problem gambling, broadcasters in Australia have unveiled plans that will see bookmakers prohibited from publicising odds on radio and television during live sporting events.

Current estimates have up to 500,000 Australians at risk of becoming problem gamblers with the most recent move from the nation’s radio and television industry coming in the wake of Prime Minister Julia Gillard stating that citizens are becoming ‘increasingly frustrated’ with the promotion of odds.

“From the moment that the players step onto the field, to the moment that they leave the field, there will be no live odds,” said Gillard.

“This is good news for families because families I think have become increasingly frustrated about the penetration of live odds into sporting coverage.”

However, critics have panned the new measure as not going far enough because the broadcast of odds will still be permitted before or after a game or during a scheduled break in play such as quarter-time and halftime.

“The bans should commence from the beginning of the programme not necessarily the beginning of the match,” George Souris, Arts Minister for New South Wales told ABC.

“And, of course, they must apply during the halftime and quarter-time intervals otherwise these bans by the Commonwealth will end up being a farce. They'll be exploited.”

The partial ban also does not prohibit the showing of live odds on screens inside stadiums during games, which may then get televised as part of normal broadcasts.

The National Rugby League, which governs one of Australia’s most popular sports and in the past has allowed bookmakers to give odds during broadcasts, declared that it has agreed to follow the new plan.

“The overwhelming sentiment is that we do not want to see betting as the primary focus of our game,” said Dave Smith, Chief Executive Officer for the National Rugby League.

“Fans and particularly young fans should not be subject to excessive promotion of betting during matches. We want young kids to be enjoying the skills of their favourite team [and] not quoting the odds.”

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