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In Australia, prime minister Julia Gillard has proposed to ban all in-play betting advertisements on sporting events, stating that it feels predatory forcing all this upon those who simply are looking to view game of sport, click here to read some comments. Barr O’Farrell takes it a step further and proposes to ban gambling itself.

While I understand where they are coming from with the introduction of TV ad bans and even wanting to ban gambling, it simply will not work. My viewpoint might be biased, as I write on a blog about sports betting. I off course want gambling to be legal. But I understand the problems that it inflicts upon certain unfortunate people. However, the solution is not to ban gambling. This will simply lead to it move underground, the problem of gambling addiction becomes even more stigmatized and no one would want to seek help, government miss out on revenue, those who actually just want to do it for fun misses their opportunity, and so on.

This has been tried with alcohol back in the day, to no success. People still found ways to get alcohol, even though it was illegal to drink. The same will happen with recreational drugs. Right now, people are too scared, but eventually we will have to give in. Make it legal, make preparations so as to minimize the damage it causes to those who overdo it and remove most of the criminal aspects of it.

There are other reasons for letting the gambling ads still run, like the fact that the government has pulled a lot of funding from national TV, and the channels need to get the money from somewhere. A fair middle ground I would say would be to run the advertisements after 8PM or something, which I guess it would anyways given that the kids are not their prime targets anyways.

I am not feeling sorry for the sports betting industry, they are raking in cash as it is, but imposing on other people, telling them what they can and cannot do is not my cup of tea. So while I don’t get angry at such proposals, as I understand their intentions, it just simply will not work in my opinion, and the better and more suitable course of action should be to use some of the revenue and taxes earned from the bookies to setup help for those who need it.

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