Free TV slams proposed ad ban on betting services during live sport

Australia’s commercial TV broadcasters have slammed a move by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to ban all advertising via betting services completely while live sport is in play.

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The ALP has proposed a new ban on betting ads in TV

The ALP introduced an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Bill currently being read that called for a blanket ban on the promotion of betting during live sporting events on TV.  The bill was introduced last year to place restrictions to online gambling operations.

The ALP has proposed such a ban be phased in as part of the legislation now being debated which will see new restrictions placed on such advertising along with the ability to run live online gambling.

Labor’s amendment said: “whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House calls on the Government to work with the broadcasting industry and national sporting organisations on a transition plan to phase out the promotion of betting odds and commercials relating to betting or gambling before and during live sporting broadcasts, with a view to their prohibition”.

The commercial TV industry body Free TV reacted to the announcement of the amendment almost immediately.

“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,” Free TV said in a statement.

“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.”

Free TV CEO Brett Saville described the proposed total ban as unwarranted.

“Commercial broadcasters already have the most comprehensive, targeted set of restrictions on the promotion of betting services of any media platform in Australia,” Saville said in a statement.

The statement said strong safeguards were already in place and that the new amendments went too far.

Under the new proposal there would be a ban on the promotion of gambling  during play, as well a ban on the promotion of odds by commentators and their guests for 30 minutes before and after play.

Free TV said that current restrictions were already in place to protect the public and children from over zealous advertising.

“These strong protections were endorsed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) which registered the current Code in November 2015, following extensive consultation, to ensure it provided appropriate community safeguards,” the Free TV statement said.

“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 4% of total gambling turnover.


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