Crackdown on gambling ads in Aussie sport

AUSTRALIA is set to introduce a ban on broadcasting gambling adverts during live sports matches in an attempt to curb problem betting.

TV and radio coverage of live sports events will no longer be able to incorporate bookmakers’ odds, while other adverts and sponsorship logos will not be allowed inside stadiums or on shirts, the country’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

The crackdown will come as a blow to Australia’s lucrative online gaming industry, where UK-listed firms including William Hill and Paddy Power are active, although they will still be able to market themselves during advertising breaks.

The rules mean bookies will be prevented from partnering with broadcasters to include odds in the sports programming, and will not be able to advertise on billboards around the venues. Gillard also warned bookies that if they respond by dominating coverage in advertising breaks, she would crack down on this too.

“From the moment that the players step onto the field, to the moment that they leave the field, there will be no live odds,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture Media and Sport said that the British government does not have any plans to introduce legislation on the issue. The UK advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Gillard said yesterday that the ban will help to prevent problem gambling, as well as meaning children are not as exposed to the industry.

Sports events are seen as an increasingly lucrative advertising opportunity for many gambling firms, given the shift towards punters betting over the internet, especially over smartphones. However, the impulsive nature of some gamblers, as well as the ease of access created by smartphones, has led to fears about problem users.

The changes will be reflected in a revised broadcasting code submitted to the Australian media regulator.