Australian broadcasters hit out at move to ban betting adverts

Free TV, the industry body representing Australia’s commercial free-to-air television broadcasters, has hit out at a proposal to ban all advertising of betting services during live sporting events.

The proposal has been put forward by the Australian Labor Party, which has introduced an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Bill currently being read. The bill was introduced last year to place restrictions for online gambling operations.

The ALP has proposed a ban be phased in as part of the legislation currently being discussed, which addresses new restrictions placed on such advertising along with the ability to run live online gambling.

The measures include a ban on the promotion of live odds during play, as well a ban on the promotion of odds by commentators and their guests for 30 minutes before and after play. These restrictions are in addition to the current family viewing time safeguards.

Describing the new proposal as “unwarranted,” Free TV said in a statement: “Complaints about betting are low, and broadcasters have demonstrated very high levels of compliance to the code over a sustained period.

“The recently published Australian Gambling Statistics indicate that total sports betting turnover represents less than four per cent of total gambling turnover. Introducing new restrictions which single-out free-to-air television – which continues to be the most heavily regulated media platform in Australia – is entirely unnecessary.

“In fact, doing so would risk regulatory by-pass and put commercial free-to-air broadcasters at a competitive disadvantage compared to other media platforms, while failing to achieve the policy intent.”