Restrictions on Australian gambling adverts will come into effect on March 30 as Malcolm Turnbull’s government continues its crackdown on the betting industry.
Under the new rules, major TV stations will be banned from showing gambling related ads during live sporting events broadcast before 8:30pm.
The reformed codes of practice are designed to shield children from the betting industry and the restrictions will be put in place five minutes before and five minutes after events between 5:00am and 8:30pm.
Mainstream Outlets in the Firing Line
The ban won’t apply to horse, dog or harness racing, nor will it apply to online advertising. Additionally, ESPN, Eurosport and other “low audience” channels won’t be affected by the new codes of practice.
“The principle is that the small channels would be disproportionately affected; very few children watch these channels,” Foxtel’s head of corporate affairs Bruce Meagher told The Australian.
Although Prime Minister Turnbull first hinted at changes back in May 2017, the genesis of the idea started in 2014. At the eGaming Review (EGR) Australia Power Summit 2014, industry insiders and Ad Standards discussed the relationship between the betting world and Advertising Standards Board.
At that time, the focus was on the content of gambling ads rather than the time they were shown, but it was the start of a longstanding back-and-forth between the government and operators.
Industry Insiders Hit Back
Although Turnbull’s government has committed to enforcing the restrictions on March 30, this won’t be the end of the saga. As news of the change broke, a group of operators and media organisations have pushed back.
Free TV Australia has been one of the most vocal opponents of the new law, suggesting that the NSW government approved and passed the legislation without consulting those it would affect. The Executive Director of Responsible Wagering Australia Stephen Conroy also joined the backlash.
“We’re hoping to avoid damage to the racing industry by raising our key concerns with the NSW Government before the changes are enacted,” Conroy told Racing.com.
For now, the advertising restrictions will come into effect as planned on March 30, after which betting operators and broadcasters could be at risk if the new rules are broken.