Sportsbet seeking customer diversification via Australia TikTok ads

Sportsbet seeking customer diversification via Australia TikTok ads

Sportsbet is expanding the scope of its TikTok marketing campaign in Australia to broaden the gender diversity of its customer base, according to The Guardian.

The Flutter Entertainment betting brand, headquartered in Melbourne, entered into an agreement with the Chinese-owned social media platform last year.

Marking an exception to TikTok’s rules around gambling promotion, the bookmaker has been allowed to conduct advertising on the platform under a “a closed pilot for sports betting’.

A report in The Guardian outlined that Sportsbet has begun to leverage the partnership to appeal to a wider audience – specifically seeking to gain more young female customers using advertising and influencer marketing.

The paper explained that the firm posted a video featuring a woman drawing attention to its novelty betting markets, showcased on the Super Bowl halftime show. 

Bets offered by Sportsbet on the half-time show resolved around R&B singer Rihanna’s performance, such as how long she would sing for, what props she would use and what clothes she would wear.

A Sportsbet spokesperson informed The Guardian that all TikTok content had been age restricted to “minimise the risk of exposure to minors while connecting with adult audiences on the platforms they enjoy”.

TikTok itself had previously asserted that any betting marketing material posted by Sportsbet would only be viewable by those aged 21 or over.

The social media service explained back in November: “A closed pilot for sports betting is currently in operation for one managed client who has obtained permission from TikTok via an application process.”

However, TikTok has also expressly prohibited content featuring betting, gambling or fantasy sports, as well as branding and sponsorships by gambling companies.

Additionally, whilst the partnership is not illegal under Australian federal law – restrictions only exist for TV, radio and online streaming advertising, not social media – it has occurred at a time of heightened political scrutiny on gambling in the country.

For example, the New South Wales Labor Party has proposed new reforms on betting, including marketing, ahead of state elections, whilst a Tasmanian politician has introduced a federal bill regarding loot boxes. 

Perhaps most significantly, a parliamentary inquiry is currently underway, looking into the societal impacts of the industry meaning that further legislative developments in this area could be on the horizon.

TikTok’s arrangement with Sportsbet did not go unnoticed at the time of initial reporting also, with Deakin University Professor of Public Health Samantha Thomas raising concerns to ABC News.

“There are some regulations that are very much focused on television-based advertising, but we know that social media platforms are perhaps most of the media viewing of young people,” she said.

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