The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that Seven Network and Nine Network each violated gambling advertising rules by running betting promotions at sporting events.
An ACMA investigation found that in July and August 2021, Seven aired 49 betting promotions during its Olympic coverage on its Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide broadcasts. Seven was also found to have made gambling ads available on its Olympics live stream.
A separate investigation revealed that New aired a game ad at 8:21 p.m. during the NRL Grand Final half-time break on October 3, 2021.
Broadcasters are not permitted to air gambling advertisements during their coverage of live sporting events that air between 5 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. After 8:30 p.m., gambling ads may air , but are limited to defined breaks. For long-running events, such as the Olympics, broadcasters should not air gambling advertising from 5 minutes before the start of the first event of the day until 8:30 p.m., and no later than 5 minutes before the start of the day’s first event. once every two hours after this time. These rules also apply to live broadcasts.
ACMA President Nerida O’Loughlin said Australians are increasingly concerned about the potentially harmful nature of gambling advertising.
“These rules exist to address community concerns about excessive exposure to betting promotions. Seven and Nine are well aware that they have to keep these ads on at certain times,” O’Loughlin said.
“Many families like to look at sports as a shared activity and parents worry that children exposed to these ads will normalize betting as part of sports.
“It’s disappointing that the two networks have not lived up to their responsibilities at such high-profile sporting events.”
Seven and Nine have each entered into binding undertakings with the ACMA, requiring them to put systems in place to prevent further rule-breaking and to update training for staff responsible for scheduling and delivering advertisements on the gambling during sports programs. They should also track complaints and responses regarding gambling advertisements.
Additionally, Seven received a formal warning for his live-streaming violations.
Both networks are to report to the ACMA on the formation and effectiveness of their new systems and practices, providing details of how they have resolved any issues that have arisen during this time.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs recently announced a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling, including a review of the effectiveness of current gambling advertising restrictions. to limit children’s exposure to gambling products and services. The ACMA intends to make a submission to the inquiry given its regulatory responsibilities and experience.