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Australia to ban betting ads during live sports events

| By iGB Editorial Team

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that the country will introduce a ban on gambling advertisements on television, radio and the internet during sports events broadcast live before 8:30pm.

According to The Guardian newspaper, Turnbull told reporters in New York, US, there will be “no more gambling ads” before the cut-off time, with the exception of horse racing.

The country is currently in the process of overhauling its broadcasting industry and the rule changes regarding betting ads form part of this wider initiative.

“Parents around Australia will be delighted when they know that during football matches, cricket matches and live sporting events before 8.30pm, there will be no more gambling ads,” Turnbull said.

The overhaul also includes a decrease in television licence fees to help offset the revenue broadcasters look set to lose as a result of the ad ban.

Mitch Fifield, Communications Minister for Australia, said the new ban would come into effect from five minutes before play is due to begin until after the broadcast event ends or 8:30pm, whichever comes first.

Fifield added: “These things are also a balance between recognising that commercial media need to have sources of revenue but at the same time we need to protect families and children.”

Senator Nick Xenophon has been one of the main driving forces championing the ban and although he welcomed the move, he has called for further action, adding that the measure is “not the end of the story in terms of gambling reform”.

However, earlier this year, the ban was criticised by some of Australia’s leading broadcasters, with free-to-air television lobby group Free TV, which represents Nine, the Seven Network, Ten, Southern Cross Austereo and Prime Television, branding the proposal as “unwarranted” and “unnecessary”.

Speaking in February, Free TV chief executive Brett Savill said: “Commercial broadcasters already have the most comprehensive, targeted set of restrictions on the promotion of betting services of any media platform in Australia.

“Introducing new restrictions which single-out free to air television — which continues to be the most heavily regulated media platform in Australia — is entirely unnecessary,” the lobby group said.

“In fact, doing so would risk regulatory bypass and put commercial free to air broadcasters at a competitive disadvantage compared to other media platforms, while failing to achieve the policy intent.”

Related articles: Australia considers crackdown on television gambling ads
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