Gambling giant Tabcorp – otherwise known as the TAB – has come under fire for handing out branded jelly beans to the public without including a gambling warning on the packet.
The offending jelly beans were given to Greens MLC Justin Field at Sydney's busy Martin Place station on Thursday morning. Field happens to be the party spokesperson for gambling.
He told BuzzFeed News there were at least three people in TAB shirts handing out various materials, including the jelly beans.
"I normally walk past anyone handing stuff to you at a train station," he said. "But because I have the gambling portfolio I did a double take and thought, 'What's that about?'"
The packet has a sticker bearing the tab.com.au logo and the phrase "Nothing's as sweet as a win".
Field said the jelly bean packet was a violation of gambling advertising regulations.
Under Betting and Racing Regulation 2012 gambling advertising must not be published without the following warning:
Think! About your choices
Call Gambling Help
1800 858 858
The warning does not appear anywhere on the packet.
"This is a printed ad, a sticker," Field said. "The fact it's gone on the jelly beans isn't necessarily against the regs, but the sticker breaches the regs as far as I can see."
Fields also said that while Martin Place is a commuter station, jelly beans are a product that appeal to kids, and the placement of the sticker is inappropriate.
"That's going to get thrown in someone's bag and thrown on the table at home. It's absolutely certain that kids are going to grab hold of these bags of jelly beans.
"It's the insidious nature of gambling advertising. It's really permeating all aspects of our lives at the moment... This is the next level of gambling and gambling messages in our lives."
A spokesperson for Tabcorp told BuzzFeed News the jelly beans were to mark the beginning of a NSW racing event.
"The promotion targeted only people aged 25 or over and was carried out in central Sydney to mark the beginning of New South Wales’ premier autumn racing event, the Championships," he said.
"The material – stress balls, mints and jelly beans – featured only general TAB branding and contained no promotion of odds or direct encouragement to place a bet."
Liquor & Gambling NSW told BuzzFeed News it was aware of the jelly bean advertising and was looking into it to see if any regulations had been breached.
Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Lane Sainty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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