Australia To Consider Full Gambling Ad Ban

Robert Longthorpe - Senior Writer
Robert Longthorpe
12 July 2023 in News
AU To Consider Full Gambling Ad Ban

Those who read our news blog with some regularity will remember when we talked about Betr receiving a hefty fine from Australian regulators for advertising violations, but now real money casinos could potentially lose the option to advertise altogether.

Radical Reforms for Gambling Activities

A potentially game-changing report from an Australian federal government commission has stirred considerable debate. The report, entitled "You Win Some, You Lose More", suggests a comprehensive overhaul of the country's gambling framework, which includes a complete ban on all gambling advertisements within the next three years. The recommendations have sparked robust discourse regarding the broader social implications of gambling regulation.

The proposed ban is extensive, targeting not just the advertisements but also the enticing incentives currently offered by online gambling platforms, such as instant cash vouchers. A significant shift from the current system where individual states and territories hold the reins of their respective gambling laws, the report advocates for a centralised federal regulator to oversee the sector.

A National Online Gambling Regulator in Sight

The federal government commission's extensive nine-month investigation, which formed the basis of the report, incorporated numerous testimonies. These highlighted the "detrimental consequences and societal repercussions" stemming from online gambling, according to the government. Despite the 'problem gambling' rate in Australia being less than 1% of the population, as per data from, government officials recommend a phased plan to tackle the issue. The proposed stages of this plan are:

  • Phase One: An immediate ban on gambling inducements, including credits and bonuses. This aims to discourage casual betters from engaging in potentially harmful gambling activities.
  • Phase Two: A total ban on online gambling advertising and any commentary covering the odds of games. This ban would start an hour before the contest and run until an hour after its conclusion. This phase would also introduce an advertising ban in stadiums and on player uniforms to reduce the normalisation of gambling in sports.
  • Phase Three: This phase calls for a prohibition of all "broadcast online gambling" between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. This would reduce the exposure of gambling activities during hours when the most significant audience, including potentially vulnerable groups, are watching.
  • Final Phase: This phase would eradicate all online gambling advertisements and sponsorships. This suggests a future where gambling activities would not benefit from any form of advertising or promotional exposure.

If the government approves the plan, each phase will be rolled out separately. The overall goal is to have all phases in place within a span of three years.

Impact on Media Broadcasting and Potential Pushback

Small local media broadcasters and dedicated racing channels would only begin to face these advertising restrictions by the end of 2025. The recommendations also call for the establishment of a national online gambling regulator and ombudsman, and a federal minister to supervise responsible gambling. These proposed changes would significantly alter the nation's gambling landscape and could have substantial economic implications, particularly for broadcasters dependent on advertisement revenue.

Diverse Stakeholder Opinions Emerge

The proposed reforms have sparked mixed reactions. Peter Dutton, leader of the Liberal Party of Australia, backs the recommendations, advocating for their swift implementation. The Public Health Association of Australia also supports a prompt governmental response.

Critics argue that these measures may curtail consumers' freedom to spend their money as they wish, highlighting that gambling, for many Australians, is a form of entertainment and not necessarily a 'loss'. Furthermore, they point out that gambling creates jobs and generates revenue for the states, much like the AU$8 billion (US$5.31 billion) Australians spend annually on coffee.

Commercial broadcasters, represented by Free TV Australia, express concerns that an advertising ban would result in reduced revenue, potentially leading to content restrictions or other cuts, negatively impacting Australian consumers. Similarly, IAB Australia, a nonprofit trade association for the online advertising sector, believes that the proposed changes are a step in the wrong direction. Instead of a full ban, they argue for the use of existing tools to regulate advertising.

Looking to the Future

The government's response to these recommendations is eagerly anticipated. If enacted, they would represent a significant shift in Australia's approach to managing gambling-related social issues. As the debate unfolds, the complex balance between economic interests, consumer freedoms, and broader societal impacts of gambling becomes increasingly clear. These discussions demonstrate that the issue reaches beyond gambling, influencing sectors such as broadcasting, advertising, and public health.

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