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Govt to change gambling ads after backlash


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The State Government will “tweak” its ‘Gambling Starts with Games’ advertising campaign after a social media backlash.

The campaign, which features images of young children playing on iPads while seated at casino tables, warns parents against letting their children play video games that simulate gambling.

But Twitter users have argued the campaign demonizes video gaming as a whole – and the Premier took to the social media site this morning to say he agreed.



In a statement issued to InDaily this morning the Premier said his Government wasn’t trying to play the “fun police”.

“It is not about being the fun police. It is not about demonising people who play online games,” he said.

“It was never the intention of the campaign to target gaming and gamers.

“The campaign is about targeting those games that lead children into gambling and to help parents be better informed about the games their children are accessing.

“The Government will ensure that the future phases of the campaign make that clear.”

Images of the campaign advertising circulated on Twitter yesterday before gaining national media attention.


“Pokies in particular target the disenfranchised and disadvantaged in a dishonest way. we know that a massively disproportionate amount of pokies revenue comes from problem gamblers, and we know that a disproportionate number of problem gamblers are poor,” Ed Butler told InDaily.

“My point, therefore, is that so long as our governments continue to rely on income that is the result of the exploitation of the disadvantaged, it is deeply wrong of them to expect parents to do the heavy lifting of preventing gambling addicts in society.

“My feelings on this aren’t so much that there is something inherently wrong with keeping kids away from gambling games, and encouraging parents to do so.

“Rather, it’s that the state (all states bar WA) are heavily reliant on gaming tax revenue. The gaming industry is a nefarious and insidious regressive taxation system that governments of all stripes coddle because of the sweet cashmoney they receive.”

The State Government’s campaign is based on concern about children’s online gaming activities.

Based on peer-reviewed research to be published next year, the State Government claims that “almost one third of teenagers have tried one or more types of simulated gambling online”.

Parents are warned to pay attention to their children’s online activity and talk to them about their attitudes toward gambling.

“Games that simulate gambling give children the opportunity to practise gambling. Playing these games often becomes a daily activity making gambling seem like part of normal everyday life.”

However, the Government does note current research is not conclusive.

“While current research has not demonstrated that engaging in simulated gambling causes someone to be a problem gambler, experts have identified there is evidence of a link between exposure of some children to simulated gambling and the development of problem gambling in adulthood.”

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