Australia plans to ban live betting odds during sports

Gambling The government has warned that up to 500,000 Australians are at risk of becoming, or are, problem gamblers.

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Australia has unveiled plans to ban television and radio broadcasts of betting odds during live sports matches in a bid to curb problem gambling.

Gambling advertisements will no longer appear during live events and around sporting venues, the government said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Australians had become "increasingly frustrated" with the promotions.

The broadcasting industry is expected to submit a revised code to Australia's media watchdog reflecting the changes.

"From the moment that the players step onto the field, to the moment that they leave the field, there will be no live odds," Ms Gillard told a press conference.

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

Under the new rules, advertisements would only be allowed before or after a game, or during a scheduled break in play, such as quarter-time and half-time.

'Focus of game'

Promotion of betting odds by bookmakers who appear to be part of broadcast teams will also be banned.

The National Rugby League, which in the past has allowed bookmakers to give odds during broadcasts, said it agreed with the government's plan.

"The overwhelming sentiment is that we do not want to see betting as the primary focus of our game," NRL chief executive Dave Smith said.

"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, not quoting the odds."

The broadcasting industry is expected to submit a revised code to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, said the government.

It estimates that up to 500,000 Australians are at risk of becoming, or are, problem gamblers.

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