Commercial free to air television broadcasters have today rejected an unwarranted ban on the promotion of betting services during live sporting events on TV, proposed by the Federal opposition.
“Commercial broadcasters already have the most comprehensive, targeted set of restrictions on the promotion of betting services of any media platform in Australia,” Free TV CEO, Mr Brett Savill said today.
These measures include a ban on the promotion of live odds during play, as well a ban on the promotion of odds by commentators and their guests for 30 minutes before and after play.
These restrictions are in addition to the family viewing time safeguards that prohibit:
• all advertisements relating to betting and gambling during any programs classified G between 6am and 8.30am, and 4pm and 7pm
• all advertisements relating to betting and gambling during any program that is broadcast between 5.00 am and 8.30 pm and that is principally directed to children, regardless of the classification.
These strong protections were endorsed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority which registered the current Code in November 2015 following extensive consultation to ensure it provided appropriate community safeguards.
Complaints about betting are low, and broadcasters have demonstrated very high levels of compliance to the Code over a sustained period.
The recently published Australian Gambling Statistics indicate that total sports betting turnover represents less than 4% of total gambling turnover.
Introducing new restrictions which single-out free to air television - which continues to be the most heavily regulated media platform in Australia – is entirely unnecessary.
In fact, doing so would risk regulatory by-pass and put commercial free to air broadcasters at a competitive disadvantage compared to other media platforms, while failing to achieve the policy intent.