Australia regulator says media breaches of gambling ad rules “disappointing”

Content Team 11 months ago
Australia regulator says media breaches of gambling ad rules “disappointing”

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it was disappointed by breaches in gambling ad regulations by two of the country’s largest television networks.

The regulator said Seven Network and Nine Network contravened rules by showing betting promotions during sporting events.

ACMA said in July and August 2021, Seven aired 49 betting promotions during its Olympic coverage in five major Australian cities. It also made ads available on its live stream of the Olympics. 

A separate investigation found that Nine broadcast a gambling advertisement at 8:21pm during the half-time break of the NRL grand final on 3 October 2021.

The rules restrict broadcasters from showing gambling advertising during their coverage of live sporting events shown between 5am and 8:30pm. After 8:30pm gambling ads can be shown but are restricted to defined breaks. For long-form events, such as the Olympics, broadcasters must not show gambling advertising from 5 minutes before the start of the first event of the day until 8:30pm, and not more than once every two hours after that time. These rules also apply to live streams.

ACMA sees community concerns

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said Australians are increasingly concerned about the potentially harmful nature of gambling advertising.

“These rules exist to address community concerns about excessive exposure to betting promotions. Both Seven and Nine are well aware that they have to keep these ads to certain times,” O’Loughlin said.

“Many families enjoy watching sport as a shared activity and parents worry that children exposed to these ads may normalise betting as a part of sport.

“It is disappointing that both networks failed to meet their responsibilities on such high-profile sporting events.”

Both Seven and Nine agreed to court-enforceable undertakings with the ACMA, requiring them to implement systems to avoid breaking the rules again and refresh training for staff responsible for the scheduling and broadcast of gambling advertisements during sports programming. They each must also track the complaints and responses about gambling advertisements.

Additionally, Seven received a formal warning for its live stream breaches.

Both need to report back to the regulator on progress. 

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