Australia to ban betting ads in live sports from March 30

16 March 2018

The Australian federal government has today (Friday) announced that a ban on betting advertisements during daytime live sports broadcasts will come into effect from March 30.

The ban will apply to sporting events shown between 5am and 8:30pm in a move designed to limit the amount of gambling-related advertising seen by children.

Broadcasters will not be able to show betting ads from five minutes before the start of play until five minutes after the event has ended.

However, the Australian Subscription Television Association (ASTRA) has said in a new code of practice that the ban will not apply to so-called “low-audience” sports channels.

The Australian newspaper names ESPN, ESPN2 and Eurosports as among these channels that will be exempt from the ban.

“The principle is that the small channels would be disproportionately affected; very few children watch these channels,” Foxtel’s head of corporate affairs and ASTRA board member, Bruce Meagher, said.

The ban has been the subject of much debate for some time now and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in May last year hinted that a ban would soon be in place.

The broadcast ban does not apply to horse, harness or dog racing event, nor does it extend to online advertising, which the federal parliament will look at in the future via a separate bill.

Stephen Mayne, a spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, criticised today’s announcement, saying that some components of the codes appear open to interpretation.

Mayne said: “The code is complex and some of the provisions are open to interpretation, such as whether Western Australian and South Australian viewers will face advertising earlier than the east coast.

“The Alliance will wait and see how it operates after April 1.”

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