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Australian pay TV firm seeks gambling ad dispensation

Australian pay TV firm Foxtel is pushing for exemptions to its governments gambling advertisement reforms, details the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The upcoming gambling ban, set to take effect from next month, was pushed through by the government as it promises to ban sports betting ads during the viewing hours of children.

Stating that it seeks to “provide a clear and practical zone for families and children to watch live sports,” the reforms would see a ban in effect during live sporting events during 5am and 8.30pm.

Facing immediate backlash from executives of sporting codes, who argue the value of television rights could be slashed as a result, and Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) execs who called for the plans to be scrapped, Foxtel is urging exemptions in part due to the very small audiences of a selection of its channels.

A spokesperson for the pay-TV industry’s peak body ASTRA, commented: “The exemption encompasses channels, including beIN, ESPN and Eurosport that provide niche coverage of overseas events to very small audiences in contrast to the mass appeal broadcasts of the major Australian football codes on free-to-air TV, which attract much larger audiences.”

The firm is also seeking to set restrictions, this time to clocks in the Eastern States because it only sends out one TV signal for all states simultaneously.

Kelvin Thomson of the Alliance for Gambling Reform stated that such proposals would mean “that viewers in Western Australia, including children, could be subjected to saturation gambling advertising from 5.30pm onwards and viewers in South Australia including children will be subjected to saturation gambling advertising after 8:00pm.”  

Sarah Hanson-Young, an Australian senator representing the Australian Greens, has previously alluded to her dismay that the laws could only apply in full to free to air TV.

It was detailed that The Subscription TV and Commercial TV industries are drafting their own provisions to their codes of conduct, to comply with the new laws, with oversight from the Government.