The Australian media authority levied a maximum fine of AU$13,320 against the Seven Network for breaching the country’s gambling advertising ban during a daytime live stream of a National Football League (NFL) game. This enforcement action occurred shortly after the broadcast network had received a formal warning for airing 49 betting adverts during its coverage of the Olympic Games, despite recent regulatory changes.
As per the findings from Australia’s Federal Government, the plan is to suspend online gambling adverts within three years in a bid to protect those who may be susceptible to gambling harm. This also applies to minors who are impressionable when exposed to specific persuasive messages in adverts.
Of course, this does not mean that those who gamble responsibly will be at a loss for choice of providers. There are plenty of online casinos to choose from; many are listed on NoDepositQuest, where new and existing players can find top-tier operators and exclusive bonus deals.
The fine imposed on the Seven Network follows revelations that the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) would now allow viewers to block fast food and gambling advertisements for the first time. Nevertheless, despite this development, the Seven Network disregarded the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) guidelines, prohibiting gambling advertising during live sporting events from 5:00 am to 8:30 pm. The network aired a gambling ad at 10:38 am on 7plus during a live stream of an NFL game on December 12, 2022.
The Seven Network insisted that this was an isolated incident despite a history of repeated law violations. They stated that they have adequate measures to ensure compliance with the country’s newly introduced gambling advertisement laws. The ACMA, on its part, emphasized its commitment to closely monitoring the broadcaster’s activities to ensure adherence to advertising rules and regulations.
The chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Nerida O’Loughlin, disclosed that the recent crackdown by the authority was prompted by heightened concerns about the persistent exposure of Australian viewers to gambling advertising during the live coverage of sporting events across various broadcasters and their platforms. The regulatory body urges local broadcasting groups to establish robust systems to ensure compliance with Australian laws, preventing the bombardment of gambling advertisements.
The ACMA disclosed that over a 12-month period, more than 1 million gambling advertisements were aired on free-to-air television and radio stations, aiming to entice customers to sign up on various platforms. Additionally, the estimated advertising expenditure by gambling operators amounted to around AU$ 238 million. These findings served as the basis for advocating a three-year suspension of all online gambling adverts aimed at protecting local individuals from potential gambling-related harm.
A bipartisan parliamentary committee proposed 31 recommendations, including the advertising ban, to address the industry’s escalating issues. They suggested suspending all gambling companies utilizing enticing offers, such as special bonuses, to attract customers and encourage increased spending, leading to heightened harm.
SBS On Demand’s decision to empower viewers with the choice to opt out of alcohol, fast food, or gambling advertisements is a positive step forward and a necessary example of responsible gambling. Moreover, it also benefits gambling and liquor advertisers as it ensures that their adverts are seen by individuals interested in their products.
The initiative to ban gambling advertisements represents just one facet of the broader changes the Australian government is implementing to tackle the concerning rates of problem gambling. Just last August, the ACMA launched BetStop, which has already garnered nearly 10,000 registrants, with the majority reportedly under 40. Notably, a significant number have opted for a lifetime registration, underscoring a growing desire to minimize the harms associated with online gambling.
According to the Australian federal government’s Gambling Research Center, Australia holds the distinction of having the world’s highest per capita losses from gambling, with approximately 40% of the country’s 26 million population reportedly engaging in gambling weekly. Further research also indicates that around 1.6 million individuals within this percentage are at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm.
While the gambling landscape remains undeniably profitable, there is a pressing need for concerted efforts from policymakers, communities, and mental health professionals to create a safer space, providing players with the necessary support to overcome challenges. Moreover, prioritizing the protection of vulnerable individuals is paramount, necessitating the continuous promotion of services like BetStop and ongoing advocacy for advertising bans to be communicated to the public.