Communications Minister Michelle Rowland’s Concerning Involvement with the Gambling Industry

Michelle Rowland’s Meetings with Gambling Reformers: A Closer Look

Michelle Rowland, the Australian Minister for Communications, recently met with gambling reformers in what was described as “going through the motions.” These meetings, held over Zoom in 30-minute blocks, were a far cry from her previous engagements with the gambling industry.

Past Engagements and Controversies

In July last year, just two months into her tenure as minister, Rowland had a one-hour meeting scheduled at Sportsbet’s head office in Melbourne. Additionally, she attended a dinner paid for by Sportsbet and had lunch with gambling executives on her birthday. These events have raised questions about her relationship with the gambling industry.

One notable lunch was hosted by Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) at Society restaurant, known for its extensive wine collection. It is clear that listening to arguments about protecting profits may be more palatable with a glass of Chablis in hand.

This is not the first time Rowland’s assurances about meeting with gambling reformers have been called into question. In February, she faced criticism for accepting donations from Sportsbet ahead of the 2022 federal election. While she claimed to have met with the Gambling Reform Alliance, it was later revealed that the meeting was set up after the controversy surrounding the donations.

The Influence of Bookmakers and Lobbyists

The influence of bookmakers and their lobbyists on Australian politics is evident. The multi-party parliamentary inquiry into gambling advertising, commissioned by Rowland herself, found that these ads were grooming children and encouraging risky behavior. The final report highlighted the deliberate marketing of online gambling alongside sports, normalizing it as a harmless activity.

Bookmakers and their lobbyists are substantial sponsors of major political parties. Sportsbet, for example, made significant payments to both Labor and Coalition parties. Tabcorp also made substantial contributions to political parties. These payments, whether in the form of donations or subscriptions, raise concerns about the influence of the gambling industry on policy decisions.

Rowland’s Relationship with the Gambling Industry

While Rowland has committed to no longer accepting donations or hospitality from gambling companies, questions remain about her relationship with the industry. The Labor-led bipartisan committee has recommended a ban on all gambling advertising, but it remains to be seen if this will be implemented.


Michelle Rowland’s interactions with gambling reformers and her ties to the gambling industry have raised concerns about her commitment to addressing the harms associated with gambling. The influence of bookmakers and lobbyists on Australian politics is a cause for concern, and the recommendations for a ban on gambling advertising may face opposition from industry lobbying efforts.

About the Author

This article was written by [Author’s Name], a passionate advocate for responsible gambling and reducing gambling harm. [Author’s Name] believes that it is crucial to prioritize the well-being of individuals and communities over corporate profits. Through their writing, they aim to raise awareness and encourage meaningful reform in the gambling industry.

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