Australian Government Considers Limiting Gambling Advertising During Televised Sports

Industry lobby group RWA supports “meaningful reductions in wagering advertising”

Many in Australia appear to agree that the number of gambling adverts aired on television, especially during sporting events, has spiraled out of control.

“We have long shared the community’s view that there is too much gambling advertising,” said a Tabcorp spokesperson, estimating that the total marketing spend in the Australian wagering industry had nearly tripled from roughly AUS$119 million in 2011 to AUS$328 million in 2015.

Stephen Conroy, the head of Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) said that his group welcomed consultations with the community, the gambling industry, broadcasters and sports organisations with an eye to achieving “meaningful reductions in wagering advertising”. The RWA is a newly formed industry lobby group whose members include bet365, Sportsbet, Unibet, CrownBet, and Betfair.

Prime Minister Turnbull’s government has made the offer to cut the number of gambling ads as part of negotiations around the administration’s proposed deregulation of media ownership laws. South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, whose support is seen as key in the passing of these proposed deregulation laws, is pushing for an outright ban on gambling advertising during sporting events.

TV brodcasters, though, feel that singling out the TV networks is unfair as they feel they are already heavily restricted. According to Ten Network CEO Paul Anderson, this move to cut television ads would merely “drive gambling advertising to other platforms. It is a gift to the digital advertising duopoly of Facebook and Google.”