ACMA raps SEN+ for breach of gambling advertising rules

24 September 2019

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has warned Pacific Star Network (PSN) about its future conduct after its SEN+ online sports radio streamed a gambling advert during live audio coverage of the 2019 Australian Open.

An ACMA investigation found that SEN+ featured the online audio promotion during the women’s quarter-final of the tennis tournament on January 23 this year.

According to the ACMA, SEN+ streamed the gambling advertisement at 10:58AM, ahead of audio coverage of the Australian Open commencing at 11:00AM. The advert was in relation to an unnamed online service that provides information to subscribers about horse racing

Rules that came into effect in September 2018 prohibit all gambling advertising on Australian streaming services during live coverage of sport between 5:00AM and 8:30PM. Gambling ads are also banned five minutes before the scheduled start of play and five minutes after the event finishes.

As such, the ACMA said this placed SEN+ in breach of section 12 of Broadcasting Services (Online Content Service Provider Rules) 2018.

“Online service providers need to be aware of their obligations,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said. “The rules are in place to create a safe zone for children and families as they enjoy live sport broadcast on television or streamed online.”

PSN said that the breach was the result of an inadvertent error by SEN+ due to an unexpected scheduling delay. In response, the ACMA ordered PSN to commission an independent audit of its processes and practices, as well as conduct staff training to ensure future compliance with the rules.

After the audit, PSN must report any findings and recommended improvements to the ACMA. The regulator warned that failure to comply with any of these orders could result in a financial penalty.

PSN has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the ruling.

Image: Valmont1702