Australian regulator wants to extend gambling restrictions

16 July 2018

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has proposed further restrictions on gambling advertising in the country by turning its attention to online streaming services.

On March 30, a ban on betting advertisements during daytime live sports broadcasts on television channels came into effect in the country.

Broadcasters are not able to show betting ads from five minutes before the start of play until five minutes after the event has ended, between the hours of 5am and 8:30pm.

However, with the rise of so-called OTT platforms having opened up significant new opportunities for sports properties to secure coverage, the ACMA has now suggested that the same restrictions should apply to live sport that is streamed online.

“The proposed restrictions require a ‘safe zone’ across traditional and new media platforms during times when children are more likely to be a part of the audience,” the authority said.

The regulator said that the revisions take into account stakeholder comments received during a consultation on an earlier draft released in April 2018.

The watchdog added that the changes would enhance flexibility for providers in notifying end-users of the scheduled start of a sporting event; remove a previously proposed class exemption for small online content service providers; restrict a proposed exemption for age-restricted services to providers that are Australian-licensed wagering operators.

Under the original regulations, the advertising ban did not apply to so-called “low-audience” sports channels that attracted an average of less than 100,000 unique end users per month.

A spokesperson for the regulator told iGamingBusiness.com that the ACMA "no longer proposes to make this class exemption for small online content service providers".

The spokesperson said, though, that the regulator would still be able to grant exemptions if the service is "small" or if failing to grant an exemption would have "a substantial adverse effect on the financial circumstances of the provider of the service".

The spokesperson added: "It is expected that the individual exemption process will provide an opportunity for more comprehensive and tailored assessments based on the individual circumstances of a particular applicant and/or any other matter that we consider relevant."

The spokesperson added: "The online rules will broadly reflect gambling advertising restrictions that are currently in force for broadcasting services... The ACMA has not sought nor received formal feedback about the broadcasting rules since their introduction on March 30. However, we are closely monitoring the operation of the new restrictions and after 12 months will consider whether to conduct a formal review of their effectiveness."

The authority invited contributions towards the proposed changes by July 26.

Image: World Cricket