Sportsbet: ‘we stopped using Instagram because we couldn’t be sure we weren’t reaching kids’

One of Australia’s biggest betting agencies has revealed it stopped using social platform Instagram due to concerns it was unable to ensure it wasn’t reaching children.


L:R Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes, Sportsbet’s Ben Sleep, filmmaker Heath Seven’s Bridget Fair and ASB’s Fiona Jolly.

Speaking at the Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit yesterday, Ben Sleep CFO and legal and regulatory affairs director at Sportsbet told the room the wagering sector was grappling with this and other similar issues amid what he described as an “unsustainable” media inflation war between the major betting companies.

Nielsen numbers claim that spending by the top ten wagering firms has soared from $112.3m in FY14-15 to $153.8m but Sleep noted that he wasn’t familiar with sector totals were but said media inflation was a growing problem.

Sleep: "Most of the wagering firms are loss making and now it's at a point where it can't continue"

Sleep: “Most of the wagering firms are loss making and now it’s at a point where it can’t continue”

“I don’t know what the sector wide spend is but it is certainly growing,” said Sleep. “It is increasing in two ways: one is the volume (of money) available and two the material media inflation that we face, in terms of the competition.

“The media inflation has actually reached an unsustainable level, outside of any community concerns. Most of the wagering firms are loss making and now it’s at a point where it can’t continue.”

Fellow panellist Bridget Fair, group chief, corporate and regulatory affairs at Seven West Media noted that part of that inflation was in part due to a scarcity of spots where the companies can advertise.

“In our view it (the growth) is more a function of the greater competition for those available spots which are actually quite limited,” said Fair.sportsbet-instagram-picOn the question of why Sportsbet stopped advertising on Instagram, Sleep told the room: “Sportsbet stopped using Instagram, earlier in the year, because we tested their age ratings and felt didn’t feel it didn’t work properly.

“We weren’t comfortable with the margin of error and the ability of us to exclude children. We have to think about how people in today’s world are consuming content not just on TV.”

He also addressed comparisons between the wagering industry and other “vice” industries like tobacco.

“Tobacco has been proven around the world that every smoke does you damage,” said Sleep. “The vast vast majority of people who are wagering aren’t doing themselves damage and that is a material consideration.”


Jolly: “The objective of the code is to ensure a high standard of social responsibility in marketing”

Fellow panellist Fiona Jolly, CEO of the Ad Standards Bureau, told the room the new code on gambling had already seen its first complaint which will be ruled on in the coming weeks.

“It is important for marketers to understand what the new rules are and think about them when you are developing your next content piece,” said Jolly.

“The objective of the code is to ensure that advertisers and marketers develop and maintain a high standard of social responsibility in marketing their products in Australia.”

“Complaints to the ASB about wagering and more broadly gambling advertising have gone from 1% of total complaints to 5% of total complaints over the last few years.”

Declaration: Sportsbet were a sponsor of the Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit. 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.