The Australian Wagering Council (AWC) has explained that advertising remains an important legal right for Australian licensed wagering operators, but committed to working with the Federal Government to address community concerns over the advertising of sports betting.
The Council was responding to calls from independent MP Mr Andrew Wilke and Senator Nick Xenophon for a national approach on advertising regulation.
Wilke and Xenophon have outlined a series of demands for reform through Federal Government, which includes outlawing sports betting advertisements during G-rated timeslots. If they are successful, television networks could suffer from huge revenue hits.
According to Standard Media Index, the total spend on TV gambling advertising increased by 20% in the first six months of this year to $63 million. The figures showed that Sportsbet spent the most money in advertising over that period, with a total of $41 million.
This comes just two weeks after the launch of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Marketing Communications Code, which is primarily aimed at preventing gambling advertising from targeting children and encouraging the consumption of alcohol in combination with wagering.
Ian Fletcher, Chief Executive of the Australian Wagering Council, said: “Advertising isn’t all bad: in a globally competitive market, it informs consumers of the identity of licensed Australian-based wagering service providers where they can participate in wagering in a well regulated environment, avoiding the significant dangers which exist from wagering with illegal offshore operators.”
Fletcher also cited the introduction of the AANA code, which came to fruition on July 1st 2016, as an example of the AWC evolving in response to community views and previous marketing breaches, for example UBet’s promotion of drinking whilst gambling.
“The position of AWC members on wagering advertising continues to evolve in response to community views. AWC members have listened to the concerns raised by the community and have told the government they want to engage to get acceptable advertising regulation in place.”
“That’s why they applaud the development by the Australian Association of National Advertisers of a Wagering and Advertising Marketing Communications Code, which came into force on 1 July 2016 and sets new rules on the content of wagering advertising.
“That’s why they ensure strict compliance with all state and territory laws and regulations on advertising and broadcast and advertising industry Codes of Practice, including specific rules prohibiting advertising to minors and the siren-to-siren ban on live odds during live sports broadcasts and the ban on gambling advertising during live play in sports broadcasts.
“And, that’s why they acknowledge community concerns around the volume and placement of wagering advertising and want to open discussion on how best to address these concerns. That discussion needs to involve sports and racing bodies, broadcasters, and governments. Everyone shares some of the responsibility.”