Aussie Sporting Bodies Oppose TV Gambling Ad Ban

Posted on: April 23, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: April 23, 2017, 01:35h.

Australia’s plan to ban TV gambling advertising during live sporting events was met with resistance from some of the country’s sports bodies this week, who are concerned that grassroots sports will lose vital funding as a result.

Malcolm Speed opposes Aussie TV betting ad bad
Malcom Speed of the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports has said that the betting ad ban will impact on the value of media rights deals which are sports greatest assets. (Image: Sports Business Insider)

Betting ads are currently prohibited during children’s viewing hours but there is currently no limit to the volume of ads that can be shown during live sporting events.

That could be about to change as early as next week when a proposal to bring in a blanket ban “from siren to siren,” or from the start to the finish of games, is expected to be approved by parliament.

Bookies Support Ban

Strangely enough, the bookies are pretty much OK with this. Aussie betting giant Tabcorp is backing the ban, as is industry lobby group, Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), which is backed by homegrown and foreign commercial bookmakers like bet365, Betfair, CrownBet, Sportsbet and Unibet.

“We have long shared the community’s view that there is too much gambling advertising,” said RWA spokesman and chief executive, the former Labor senator Stephen Conroy in an official statement. “RWA welcomes government consultation with the wagering industry, community groups, sporting organisations and broadcasters to achieve meaningful reductions in wagering advertising.”

Australia is a competitive market where betting companies are forced to spend millions trying to out advertise one-another.

Betting industry advertising spend has increased almost three-fold from approximately $119 million in the 2011 financial year to approximately $328 million in 2015 and, for the bookies, enough is enough.  

Impact on Media Rights

But sporting bodies are hopping mad. An executive at one such major body, who wished to remain nameless, told the Australian this week that a ban will drive bettors to offshore, unlicensed sites.

It would not result in a reduction in gambling, he claimed, but there would be a reduction in tax dollars for state and federal governments. The ban also has the potential to “rob sports of product fees,” the commission that sporting bodies make on each bet made through Australia-licensed betting companies.   

Malcolm Speed, the executive director of the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, which represents all of Australia’s major bodies, is also vehemently opposed to the ban.

“We don’t support a ban on sports betting advertising, on the basis that it is likely to impact on media rights deals or the value of media rights, which is the sports’ greatest asset,” he said.

“We operate in a highly regulated system, where there are limits on placement of sports betting advertising. The sports have co-operated with broadcasters and the government to ban live odds during matches. So any restriction or prohibition will inevitably result in lowering investment in community and participation programs, and grassroots development.”