Gambling advertisements will be banned during the broadcast of live sports between 5.00 am and 8.30 pm on Australian commercial free-to-air TV, radio and pay TV. The new rules are contained in industry codes which have been registered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
“The new restrictions on gambling advertising supplement existing rules about gambling advertising during live sport and significantly enhance community safeguards during times when children are part of the audience,’ said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.
“The new rules will also ensure that broadcasters make clear to audiences, including parents, when gambling advertising is prohibited in live sport programming,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
The successful registration of these codes avoids the need for the ACMA to introduce regulatory standards on these matters.
The new rules will come into effect on 30 March 2018. The ACMA will closely monitor their operation and after 12 months will consider whether to conduct a formal review of their effectiveness.
Similar gambling advertising rules are currently proposed for online content service providers. The ACMA will consult with stakeholders about the draft online rules once the required new legislation is passed by Parliament.
The new codes of practice registered with ACMA include those from Free TV Australia. T
Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said, “Free TV is focussed on ensuring that our Code of Practice meets community expectations, including in relation to gambling advertising.”
Free TV has amended the Commercial Television Code of Practice to ban gambling ads in live sport broadcasts between 5am-8.30pm, and during a five-minute buffer before and after the event.
“These new restrictions will prevent gambling advertising being broadcast during live sports at times that children are likely to be watching,” Ms Fair said.
“The community expects that these restrictions will apply across all forms of media, including online. It’s very important that the legislation to apply similar restrictions to online players is put in place as quickly as possible,” Ms Fair said.
The Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) also announced a set of new rules designed to restrict gambling advertising during television coverage of live sport.
Its new rules mean there will be no gambling advertising during game play or during scheduled and unscheduled breaks in play. During all other times, existing gambling advertising restrictions will apply.
The ASTRA Codes include a conditional exemption from the new rules for sports channels with a very low audience share (0.5% of the viewing audience). The ACMA has placed strict limits around this exemption, which will ensure it is only available to the very small sports channels on the platform, and will not apply to any Fox Sports channel or to any nationally significant events. Existing gambling advertising limits will continue to apply to these small channels.
However, the commercial radio industry says it is concerned about an uneven playing field developing as the new rules on gambling ads come into effect due to ongoing delays in imposing similar restrictions for online platforms
New rules banning gambling ads during live sports coverage on commercial radio also come into effect on March 30. The new provisions to ban gambling ads during the broadcast of live sporting events between 5am and 8.30pm have been included in the Commercial Radio Code of Practice following a period of community consultation.
The chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, Joan Warner, said the new provisions were developed by the industry in consultation with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), as part of the Federal Government’s media reform package.
“The industry has taken community concerns about gambling on board and our members are implementing measures to ensure they comply with the new rules when they come into force on 30 March,” Ms Warner said.
“We are concerned that similar restrictions for online platforms have not yet been put in place. In fact, the legislation that will underpin rules to be developed by the ACMA has not yet been passed by the Parliament. Even after the legislation is passed there will be a period of development by the ACMA and then a period of public consultation. This creates a real risk that gambling advertising will simply be shifted online for the time, possibly some months, during which no rules apply.”
The Federal Government announced in May 2017 that the restrictions on gambling ads would apply to commercial radio, commercial and subscription television, SBS, and online platforms.