Published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the report uses Nielsen Advertising intel data. This covers adverts data between May 2022 and April 2023 across Australia.
Of all adverts that appeared on free-to-air television and metro radio, 50% – or 502,800 – were from licensed online gambling operators.
Online gambling adverts made up 51% of all metro free-to-air TV ads (256,000). Some 20% of metro TV adverts came from lotteries (99,500) and 17% lottos (84,000). The other adverts focused on services such as on-premises gambling and horse, harness and greyhound racing.
Looking to regional TV, where 34% of gambling adverts appeared, online gambling accounted for 58% (196,400). A further 16% were lottery, raffle and instant lottery adverts (52,600) and 15% lotto (49,600).
As for metro radio, 16% of gambling adverts appeared on these platforms. Online gambling adverts accounted for 31%, or 50,200, of all adverts during the period. Other services advertised included lotteries, raffles and instant lotteries, as well as horse, harness and greyhound racing and on-site gambling.
Gambling advertising spend hits AU$238.6m
As for how much was spent on adverts, this hit AU$238.6m (£124.6m/€143.7m/US$151.4m).
Online operators accounted for 64% of total spending during the 12-month period. Lotteries, raffles and instant lotteries were responsible for 12% of all spend, with on-site gambling at 9%, lotto 8%, horse, harness and greyhound racing 3% and other gambling 4%.
Metro TV was by far the most popular platform, drawing 56% of all spend, or $133.0m. Next was social media with 15% ($34.6m), then regional TV on 12% ($29.0m) and metro radio 9% (22.4m). A further $19.5m was spent on general display adverts such as on websites and apps.
TV adverts appear late in the day
In terms of when adverts appeared, this was similar across metro and regional TV. There was a peak between 9pm and 10pm: 41,300 for metro TV and 35,800 regional TV. This was to be expected due to laws in Australia that prohibit gambling ads during live sport between 5am and 8.30pm. The rule also applied to radio and streaming services.
Gambling adverts on metro radio had an earlier peak time of around 6pm, when 12,100 ads were broadcast. There was also a smaller peak in the mornings between 6am and 8am when most people commute to work.
Focusing on online operators, this followed a similar pattern. Online gambling adverts across regional TV hit a peak of 25,200 at around 10pm and 24,000 at 9pm on metro TV. Metro radio’s peak was 5,100 at 6pm.
ACMA notes that the research does not include other forms of advertising such as print, billboards and cinemas.
“Gambling is a common form of entertainment in Australia, with around 73% of Australian adults gambling at least once in the 12 months from July 2021 to July 2022,” ACMA said. “However, gambling can also have severe and lasting negative financial and social impacts on some individuals and their families.
“Now, at a time of heightened interest in the impact of gambling advertising, as seen through the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs inquiry, we consider this research a useful contribution to the broader debate on any policy or regulatory reform in this area.”