Australians are "kidding themselves" if they think banning betting advertising will stop problem gambling, says the Institute of Public Affairs.
The federal government is said to be considering introducing tougher restrictions on gambling advertising on television, a move which would likely be met with resistance from Australia's major sporting codes.
Simon Breheny, director of policy at the IPA, said the move would achieve nothing and was undemocratic.
"The government should be treating adults like adults," he said on 3AW Mornings.
"I think gambling companies are in the same category as anyone else advertising a product or service and they should be free to do so within the rules.
"I think, frankly, treating this particular product different to others is a social engineering exercise and nanny statism.
"It's a restriction on freedom of speech.
"If we think banning advertising during sports games is going to stop problem gambling, then we're kidding ourselves."
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