Australia set to crack down on sports TV gambling ads

  • New laws could stop televised sport free-for-all
  • Major operators embrace the change

The Australian government looks set to bend to pressure and restrict the number of gambling adverts that can be screened during televised sporting events. It’s believed that the move is designed to win backbench support for the government’s move towards deregulation of media ownership laws. But given than so much of the betting market is now online, it may just mean advertising is pushed instead onto the world wide web.

Sports betting curbs in Australia
Sports betting adverts from the likes of Ladbrokes and William Hill look set to be restricted in Australia following pressure on the government

Under existing advertising laws in Australia, though gambling ads are banned during children’s television viewing hours, there is no limit on the quantity that can be shown during sports event broadcasting.

Operators largely support the move

The new level of regulation is being considered even though the major sports betting operators have already acknowledged how extreme the advertising bombardment has become. They have expressed a willingness to voluntarily dial down their advertising presence during televised sport.

A spokesperson for betting giant Tabcorp has been quoted as saying: “We have long shared the community’s view that there is too much gambling advertising.”

According to the Standard Media Index, gambling is one of the most rapidly growing advertising categories in Australia in recent years. One of the biggest spenders is Paddy Power subsidiary Sportsbet. William Hill, Crownbet and Ladbrokes adverts are also commonly seen on TV in Australia.

Who wins in this?

Though the betting organizations which pride themselves on responsible trading have added their support to the move to outlaw sports gambling ads, it is not necessarily going to bring about a drastic fall in their marketing activity. Clearly operators denied blanket coverage of televised sport ad breaks can simply concentrate their resources on alternative marketing channels such as social media.

Therefore the winners could be Facebook and Google, commentators have said.

TV channels object

The objections to the move are coming from the television networks, which could see a substantial drop in their revenue. This would particularly impact on Australia’s free-to-air channels. It has been estimated that limiting gambling advertising even further than the existing restrictions could see a shortfall of A$120m in TV advertising revenue.

The Australian government indicated it will compensate television networks for lost revenue by decreasing or possibly abolishing television license fees.

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