Who Will Lose the Most from New TV Gambling Advertising Measures in Australia?

Australian TV channels may see a significant reduction in the number of gambling ads broadcast during sports events, after local gambling operators have agreed to narrow their TV advertising efforts, if need be.

According to data provided by media information services firm Standard Media Index, gambling has turned into one of the most rapidly growing advertising categories in Australia over the past several years. Gambling advertising expenditure has increased to A$236 million in 2015 from A$91 million, SMI figures showed.

Paddy Power subsidiary Sportsbet was the biggest spender when it came to gambling advertising in 2015. The operator’s gambling advertising expenditure accounted for 31% of the total. This should not come as a big surprise, given the fact that its parent company is well-known for its attractive and often scandalous marketing campaigns. Crownbet, William Hill, and Ladbrokes were also among the operators to spend big on TV ads.

With that said, sports betting can easily be referred to as the largest gambling-related advertising category in Australia. It is exactly TV sports betting ads to have appeared on local politicians’ radar screen for their proliferation during daytime. Under existing advertising laws, such ads can be broadcast in unlimited quanitity during sports events.

Who Will Benefit from Fewer TV Gambling Ads?

Gambling in Australia has long had very powerful opponents. Certain changes in the country’s gambling advertising rules were implemented in 2013, ones that barred live odds from being promoted during sports broadcasts. However, the measure did not prove to be very successful in appeasing opposing parties.

It is believed that the Australian government’s latest push for more restrictions has, among other things, been influenced by Sen. Nick Xenophon, one of the most vocal gambling opponents and anti-gambling advertising lobbyists. Lawmakers need Sen. Xenophon’s support for an important media law reform.

The way TV gambling ads affect children’s and vulnerable people’s perception of gambling has been presented as one of the main reasons why politicians, responsible gambling organizations, and other involved parties have been pushing for limitations. Here it is interesting to note that the activities of various lobbying organizations have also been supported by some of the major Australia-facing betting operators.

Who Will Lose from Fewer TV Gambling Ads?

Given the fact that major providers of gambling services have not been that much vocal about the potential new TV ads restrictions, it can easily be assumed that they may not be the ones to lose the most, if the proposed changes come into effect.

In fact, TV channels, particularly free-to-air ones, have been most concerned about the future of TV gambling advertising in the country. It has been estimated that these would lose around A$120 million from potential limitations in the number of gambling ads to be broadcast on TV.

Operators may have expressed readiness to cooperate and to follow the government’s recommendations to reduce their TV marketing push, but they will probably channel their efforts to other advertising channels, with social media possibly being the most attractive such channel.

Despite the massive lobbyism against ads, it is not likely that it would result in any fundamental near-future changes, mainly due to the corresponding pressure from TV channels.

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