Broadcast-centric sports betting ad rules don’t address the full issue, warns Nine boss

Australia’s regulation of sports betting advertising risks putting too much emphasis on broadcasters and not enough on other marketing channels, warned Nine Entertainment director of regulatory affairs Clare Gill at Mumbrella’s Sports Marketing Summit.

“One of the issues we have in TV is that it’s subject to the Broadcast Services Act, which makes broadcast an easy regulated platform and a target,” Gill said.

Nine’s Clare Gill with Sportsbet’s Paul Bittar

The new set of rules, which came into force at the end of March, apply to commercial free-to-air and subscription TV and radio television services. They restrict the timing and formats of sports betting ads, including marketing during games and the portrayal of children.

Gill worries that the focus on commercial broadcasters gives other channels an advantage: “I’d like to tie in marketing and communications. Just targeting advertising is not addressing the public policy. You have sports brands on jerseys, arenas, etc. We’re prepared to do some of the heavy lifting, but not all of it, as it doesn’t address the issues.

“I think when striking a balance we need to make sure that it’s cross platform. Fortunately with the new rules these are cross platform with live sport, but there is a need for balance and with advertisers you can bypass TV and go to social media. We think that is an issue.”

“We don’t want to become an easy target just to satisfy the optics rather than addressing the public policy issues.”

Sportsbet’s general manager for sports partnerships, Paul Bittar, observed Australian regulation can make the place a ‘nanny state’ and it’s important there are national guidelines rather than individual states making their own rules.

“The challenge then is that you move into an environment where each state takes a slightly different view of about how that plays out. Some states take a stronger view than others,” said Bittar.  “Australia’s a well regulated place overall but there’s the risk of creating a patchwork of regulation.”


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