On the weekend, the government leaked the news that they were planning to ban gambling ads during live sport broadcasts. I say “leaked” but it was less a leak, more a case of shouting it from the rooftops… “leaks” don’t generally come with promotional material like this!
Make no mistake, this is huge news. Banning gambling advertising is a massive step… but it is just a step in the right direction, and it’s still a long way from becoming a reality.
Here’s what you really need to know about the government’s proposed ban on gambling ads… the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. Gambling ads are already banned in G-rated shows from 6am to 8:30am and 4pm to 7pm, and in ANY shows before 8:30pm that are principally directed at children. Advertising live odds is banned during live sports broadcasts, and thirty minutes before and after. General gambling ads are allowed in live sports broadcasts during scheduled breaks in play only.
2. News and current affairs shows, which are not classified, are exempt from these restrictions.
3. This proposal is to ban all gambling ads during live sports broadcasts on TV, radio and online platforms before 8:30pm.
4. It does not include delayed telecasts of sporting games and events.
5. It does not include sporting programs that are not live sports broadcasts.
6. It does not include racing (horse, harness, greyhound).
7. News and current affairs will remain exempt from advertising restrictions.
8. Live sports broadcasts that start before 8:30pm will still be able to show gambling ads after 8:30pm.
9. There is no proposal to restrict gambling advertising at sporting venues, even though live sports broadcasts will include that material.
10. This proposal is supported by Australia’s bookmakers.
11. Let me say that again: this proposal to ban gambling advertising in live sports broadcasts is supported by the Responsible Wagering Council, which represents most of Australia’s corporate sports betting companies.
12. They support the ban for two reasons. One, they know it’s inevitable so why fight it; and two, they know their advertising dollars are better spent elsewhere, such as Twitter, Facebook and in-venue advertising.
13. The real opposition to this proposal comes from the free-to-air TV stations and professional sporting codes, both of which stand to lose millions of dollars if gambling advertising is banned.
14. The government has sweetened the deal for TV stations by cutting their fees but sporting bodies such as the AFL, NRL and Tennis Australia are furious and and lobbying for the proposal to be scrapped.
15. This proposal is not guaranteed. It is part of a package of reforms called the Broadcast and Content Reform Package.
16. This package includes a number of other reforms, one of which is the abolition of two media ownership laws.
17. One of these laws, the “two out of three” rule, is supported by both Labor and the Greens as it ensures diversity in media ownership.
18. It is very likely that Labor and the Greens will vote against any move to abolish the “two out of three” rule.
19. If this happens, then the proposed ban on gambling ads is history.
20. The government is relying on the proposed ban on gambling ads to win support for their package. Their main agenda is the media ownership laws, which they have been trying to abolish for years. The proposed ban on gambling ads is just the sweetener.