Laws banning the advertising of gambling services during live sporting events on Australian TV would be a "welcome first step toward protecting children from the harmful influence of gambling", according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
Lyle Shelton, managing director of the ACL, says advertising for sports betting should be treated in the same way tobacco advertising is.
“Sports betting is only allowed to be conducted by adults so it is unacceptable for gambling advertisements to be promoted to children watching their sports stars on television,” Mr Shelton said in a statement.
His comments come after the Federal Government proposed the idea of imposing greater restrictions on gambling advertising on both free and pay TV - a move which has already led the AFL and NRL to argue that doing so would slash the value of the television rights the two football codes attract.
Mr Shelton said there was a "growing mood" in the community that gambling should not be "considered an acceptable part of sport" and said there is evidence that betting has had "a corrupting influence across many sports", citing recent cases in which five AFL player agents were fined for betting on games and claims made in Italy last year that linked more than 20 leading, and unnamed, tennis players to gambling rings.
Mr Shelton said that in addition to banning gambling advertising, the Federal Government should hold an inquiry to consider other methods of protecting children and the community from the "powerful gambling lobby".
“A good way to shine a light on sports betting’s corrupting influence would be for the Parliament to hold a Senate inquiry,” he said.