The Federal Government of Australia has banned daytime gambling adverts from sports broadcasts, leaving them off-site from 5:00 AM to 8:30 PM. Officially, the ban on gambling promotions came into effect in April 2018, after being passed by the country’s federal parliament.
Under the new rules, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been given the powers to set program standards for gambling advertisements aired on TV. These standards normally apply to some broadcasting groups and pay-TV providers. The reforms made in terms of gambling advertising rules in Australia would also provide the local media watchdog with the power to impose broadcast-like program standards on online content – something that has never happened before.
According to the assistant minister Michael Sukkar, such advertising bans came as a response to rising concerns of local communities related to the quantity and scheduling of promotions at the time when sporting events are being aired. Sukkar also explained that communities across the countries were concerned about the possible impact such gambling promotions could have on children and more vulnerable individuals.
On the other hand, Brian Mitchell, a member of Parliament from the Labour Party, suggested that 8:30 PM watershed, after which gambling advertising is allowed, would prevent people from seeing such commercials only through the first quarter of a night sports match. According to him, this would not be enough to protect children from seeing such ads during night sports events.
New Rules Apply to Daytime Gambling Advertising
The amendments to the regulatory provisions regarding gambling promotions were set by the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA). This reform has been initiated as a supplement to the existing legislation, under which gambling commercials are banned during live sport events.
Under the new rules which were enforced few months back, gambling advertising is banned from live sport coverage in the period from 5:00 AM and 8:30 PM. Promotions are to be blocked from live coverage five minute before and after the game, and also during the breaks and the gameplay. ASTRA’s rules would allow gambling ads to be aired at all other times, with the already existing rules applied.
The reform has been developed in partnership between the ASTRA and the industry, with ACMA’s approval also being provided. For some time now, the Australian Government has been set on making some changes in the field, including imposing certain limits on the number of gambling commercials aired on TV.
Aggressive gambling advertising has raised some concerns among local communities and problem gambling-focused organisations. According to the latter, extensive gambling advertising could inflict harm on young individuals and more vulnerable people, as it could make gambling look “normal” to them.
Few months back, a proposal was made by the ASTRA, with the latter saying that low-rating sport channels which air overseas sports events should be exempt from the ban. Still, the exclusion would not apply to nationally significant events, as well as to any Fox Sports-branded channel.