The national body representing commercial radio broadcasters in Australia is proposing to ban advertising at certain times of the day. The proposed ban comes after media reform laws passed in October 2017 which included restrictions on gambling advertising during live sports. This latest proposition comes after the Australian government has recently come down hard on gambling advertising and enticements. Australia has already implemented a ban on wagering with credit card and offering sign-up bonuses in most jurisdictions. This is in addition to existing bans on online in-play betting, which was reinforced after companies began to use a loophole where an automated voice via computer was used to simulate a telephone call.
Commercial Radio Australia is seeking to prohibit advertisements that promote gambling between 5am and 8.30pm from five minutes before to five minutes after a live sporting event. Outside of these times, gambling advertising would only be allowed during breaks in play. Commercial Radio Australia is accepting comments and responses until December 15 2017, with the new rules set to be implemented on March 18 2018.
According to Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Radio Australia Joan Warner the industry is committed to providing quality radio in line with the Australian listening public’s needs and the commercial radio industry continues to monitor and respond to community safeguards.
Sports betting has been subject to increased scrutiny due to concerns from anti-gambling groups that children and vulnerable people are being exposed to a practice, which has been normalised thanks to its high visibility in the media. Sports betting companies in Australia have been alleged to have spent $135 million on advertising in the past 12 months.
Companies are constantly under scrutiny for the content of their ads, with one of the newest players in the Australian market Neds being forced to remove a TV campaign.
More than 60 complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Board alleging Neds’ add promoted “excessive” wagering. Sports betting advertising has been one of the fastest growing categories in recent years. Swiss Market Index data reveals that between 2011 and 2015, revenue increased from $91 million to $236 million. This represents a 160 per cent increase in revenue.
The betting ad ban on live sports broadcasts cropped up in May when Communications Minister Mitch Fifield confirmed that his office was preparing new restrictions on gambling advertisements.
According to Fifield the restrictions on gambling ads were meant to protect the welfare of children and vulnerable young men. For many, the restriction was a continuation of the persecution that the government launched against Australia’s betting industry. As mentioned above, Australia has already banned wagering on credit and offering sign-up bonuses. The Australian government also implemented a stringent enforcement of existing bans on online in-play betting, poker and casino products. Lastly, Australia has also proposed a national point-of-consumption tax, a state-level version of which took effect in South Australia on July 1 2017.