Live Sports Betting Ads Banned Down Under

Tia Winter | 20 March 2018

The federal government of Australia recently announced that it will soon be implementing a blanket ban on all betting advertisements aired during daytime live sports broadcasts. According to the announcement, which was made late last week, this ban will come into effect from March 30, 2018.

The governmental ban will apply to all sports-related events that air on television between 5am and 8:30pm on any given day. The aim of the move is to limit the amount of gambling-related advertising that is seen by children during the hours that they are most likely to be watching television, which could help to curb local problem gambling rates in the future.

Australian TV broadcasters will soon be barred from showing any betting ads from five minutes before the start of a sports game, until five minutes after the event has concluded. ASTRA, the Australian Subscription Television Association, has also revealed in its new code of practice that the ban will not be applied to what it called ‘low audience’ sport channels.

Eurosports, ESPN To Be Exempt

Australian news media channels have since revealed a few of the major local TV channels that will be exempt from the new law. They include Eurosports, ESPN, and ESPN2, although other channels are also soon to be named as more is learned about the government’s latest bid to nix gambling addiction.

According to Head of Corporate Affairs at Foxtel and board member of ASTRA, Bruce Meagher, the principle behind the new ban is that smaller sports channels will not be ‘disproportionately affected’ by the move, as very few children are exposed to these channels and their content.

AGR Criticises New Broadcast Ban

The ban has been heavily debated for years now, and it was in May last year that Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull first suggested that the ban would be implemented sometime in 2018. The broadcast ban will not apply to dog, horse or harness racing, and will not cover online advertisements either. With that said, the federal government aims to address online adds in the near future through separate legislation.

Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Stephen Mayne has since criticised the announcement. According to Mayne, certain components of the codes in question seem to be open to interpretation, which could create confusion and resentment among broadcasters.

Mayne noted that the new code is a complicated one, and that some of the provisions – such as whether or not Western- and South Australian viewers will see adverts earlier than those on the east coast – are not sufficiently clear. For now, he said, the Alliance will wait to see how the ban plays out after April 1.

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