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Rev. Tim Costello

Why did you get involved with this campaign?

When you stop and take notice of how many gambling ads you see on television, it’s really disturbing. Sometimes more than half the ads you see in a commercial break are for gambling. That’s not right. In fact, it’s dangerous. Gambling causes so much harm in Australia, some of the worst harm in the world and we can prevent some of that harm by not having constant advertising on our televisions. We saw a big shift with community attitudes towards smoking when tobacco advertising was banned. Smoking is not glamorous and neither is gambling. It’s not right that some of our favourite sports have such strong connections to gambling; it’s not right that three in four Aussie kids think that gambling is a normal part of sport. 

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How do you feel when you see gambling ads on television?

It makes me ill to think of our kids growing up being exposed to all these gambling ads, making it seem to them that gambling is a normal part of sport. Some of the ads even make it look like without gambling you can’t enjoy sport that’s not on. And then I think about the many, many people around Australia who have experienced gambling harm, and how they cannot escape these ads. I know people who have overcome a gambling addiction but now cannot watch any of their favourite sports because the advertising is everywhere. That’s really unfair as sport is a big part of Australian life. Everyone should be able to watch it without having to worry about how many gambling ads they will see.

Why is it important we #EndGamblingAds?

The gambling industry is making a very deliberate play to capture a generation of children. They are unscrupulous in their approach and do not care at all about what happens to people when they gamble  they only care about money. Parents should be able to sit down and watch a game on television with their kids without having to worry about them seeing loads of ads for a product that is simply not suitable for children. Gambling harm is a real scourge in our communities. People experiencing gambling harm can also experience mental ill-health, homelessness and family violence. That’s not something we want to contribute to, and it is certainly not what we want for our children. Just like big tobacco has never cared for the health of our communities, the gambling industry is the same. They only want to milk money from people, and that is the opposite of what the sports we love should be doing.

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