Government proposes new limits on betting odds promotion during live sport

tom waterhouse nineThe government has called for new restrictions on the promotion of gambling during sports coverage – however, the networks would still be allowed to conduct live crosses to representatives of gambling brands and ads would still appear in the main breaks in play.

The announcement came in a joint press release from media minister Stephen Conroy and prime minister Julia Gillard.

Promotion of betting odds during the live coverage of a game would be banned. However, ads could still be aired before and after the match, and during scheduled breaks such as quarter-time and half-time.

The announcement did not spell out whether in sports such as cricket each individual break between overs would count. However, a source close to Stephen Conroy’s office suggested that while the details of this had not been resolved, such an approach would not be seen as “within the spirt” of the proposals.

The most controversial recent aspect of the promotion of gambling, which saw Tom Waterhouse appear alongside Nine sports commentators and near the track during Seven racing coverage would be outlawed. According to the announcement, they “must not appear with the commentary team at any time and must be clearly identified as a gambling representative”. However, it will be still be acceptable to cross to them so long as they are not “at or around the venue”.

The statement said: “The Government will monitor the intensity of generic gambling advertisements within the allowed periods. If it is found to go beyond reasonable levels, the Government will impose a total advertising ban.”

Industry lobby group Free TV claims that it sees the government’s announcement as “unprecedented”. Free TV CEO Julie Flynn said in a statement: “These are unprecedented restrictions for broadcasters but we accept the Government has acted in response to community concern. We recognise that these are difficult issues and will submit a revised code within the next two weeks in line with the Prime Minister’s announcement.”


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