Gambling adverts

The ACMA wants to introduce safe zones where online streaming sites aren’t allowed to show gambling adverts. (Image: betting.net)

Online gambling adverts could become less frequent in the coming months following the publication of new guidelines by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Following a new set of rules brought in by the federal government back in March, the ACMA has published a fresh set of proposals. Based on feedback it received on a report released in April, the watchdog wants to implement “safe zones” to protect children.

New Media to Follow Traditional Established Guidelines

Included in the draft proposal is a ban on adverts shown via “new media” between 5:00am and 8:30pm. The rules would mirror the restriction prime minister Malcolm Turnbull put on TV stations on March 30.

Under the government’s guidelines, TV broadcasters can only show gambling-related adverts after 8:30pm and not more than five minutes before the start of a live sporting event. When the law changed, “low audience” channels such as Eurosport were exempt, as were online websites and streaming platforms.

However, with live streams becoming increasingly popular, the ACMA wants to reform this sector as well.

One discrepancy that hasn’t been addressed in the recent ACMA document is the current exemption for horse, dog and harness racing. Under the government’s TV advertising reforms, these sports weren’t included in the time-restricted content schedule.

UK’s World Cup Gamble Could Guide ACMA

At this stage, the ACMA hasn’t acknowledged any opposition to this clause, but submissions for additional changes are being accepted until July 27. Given the recent reports of World Cup advertising issues in the UK, this could become a point of contention for anti-gambling advocates.

After receiving 115 complaints, the UK Advertising Standards Association (ASA) is looking into the frequency of betting adverts during the 2018 soccer tournament. According to The Times, broadcaster ITV showed 90 minutes of gambling adverts during the World Cup, which accounted for one in every five shown.

With its new guidelines, the ACMA will want to avoid a similar glut of content during times when minors may be most at risk.

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