Australia’s Broadcast Ban on Gambling Ads

While it might be a small change, many punters want to know exactly why the Turnbull government put a ban on gambling advertisements during televised sporting broadcasts. If you haven’t picked up on the change yet, the new law means that all forms of gambling advertising will be banned five minutes before and five minutes after the conclusion of a soccer game, cricket match or live sporting event. This is provided the games are held before 8:30pm. After 8:30pm, the restrictions are lifted and punters can be subjected to the standard melange of betting advertisements.

So why the change? Will it really make that much of a difference? According to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the hope is that the ban will minimise gambling exposure to youngers as well as problem gamblers. Turnbull feels that parents will welcome the fact that their children will not be exposed to regular sessions of betting advertisements while they watch the Australian cricket team in action.

A recent study found that the majority of adolescents in the country have been exposed to gambling activities in some form or another. It was also established that gambling advertisements were leading youngsters to believe that the chance of winning was very high; basically saying that gambling or sports betting was an easy way to make money. When researchers examined a problem gambler’s history, they found that they were exposed to gambling at a young age and developed a positive attitude towards gambling at the time. It can be said that advertising that promotes the idea of gambling being an easy way to make money will most likely cause problems in the future.

A Respite for Problem Gamblers

We all get it, the child factor is a no-brainer, but equally important is the limiting of exposure to problem gamblers. In the last few years, Australia has seen a marked increase in problem gambling that can be directly attributed to sports betting. According to recent statistics, the number of young men with gambling problems essentially doubled between 2012 and 2015. The government is keenly aware that the “gamblification” of sport has become a central component of the industry. While there are multiple factors that can be attributed to escalating rates of problem gambling, it turns out that advertising does play a role.

Large-scale surveys have shown that gambling advertisements during sport broadcasts have a strong effect on problem gamblers. It has been shown that these ads affect gamblers by increasing their desire to gamble when they are consciously trying to reduce their betting practises. The hope is that restrictions on advertising may just help those struggle to manage their gambling urges. Whether the new restrictions have any effect remains to be seen. In the meantime, the government have compensated the networks by slashing the price of licensing fees.

While the networks feared they would lose out on the deal, they may in fact benefit from the arrangement. Licencing fees, which were sitting at around $130-150 million-mark last year will drop to an expected $40 million. This gives the government some wiggle room for more advertising cuts in the future.