Aussie PM Confirms Government Plans To Restrict Gambling Ads (Update)

Recommendations by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield accepted by Cabinet

The advertising restrictions proposed to the Australian federal government Cabinet recently by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield (see previous InfoPowa reports) have apparently been accepted, judging by remarks made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York this week.

Speaking to reporters, Turnbull confirmed that government plans to ban gambling advertisements from TV, radio and the Internet during live sporting events broadcast before 8:30pm as part of an overhaul of the rules governing the country’s broadcasting industry

These include a cut in annual fees paid by the main TV networks and looser restrictions on media ownership.

The PM emphasised that, with the exception of horse racing and lotteries, there will be “no more gambling ads” before 8.30pm.

Australian industry observers predicted that the government’s actions will be closely scrutinised by Aussie sports teams and leagues, which have extensive and lucrative sponsorship deals with the betting industry.

The current government plan appears to be to include the changes in the federal budget due next week, with implementation scheduled for March 2018.

The annual broadcast licence fee cuts referred to by the PM are seen as an attempt to compensate the media industry for the loss of the considerable gambling advertising dollars which the advertising restrictions will cause.

The advertising ban is another blow to Australia’s gambling industry, following as it does government bans on in-play betting, wagering on credit and offering sign-up inducements.

Gambling firms are also bracing for the impact of the South Australian government imposition of a fifteen percent point-of-consumption tax, which is likely to spread across most states and territories following recent meetings between federal, state and territorial governments (see previous InfoPowa reports).