Crownbet, an Australian was chided recently by Australian TV watchdogs for allegedly running gambling ads during a children’s show. In the process, Crownbet became the first operator to be challenged under the country’s new Commercial TV Industry Code of Practice 2015.

According to reports from Australian media, Australia’s Nine Network ran six ads for Crownbet during a 3 p.m. showing of the film, The Spiderwick Chronicles.  The film is rated PG, which suggests that it’s not necessarily appropriate for younger audiences, and was airing at 6:30 p.m. Regardless, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says the company was in violation of the code, which prohibits gambling ads on shows aimed at children between the hours of 5 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

There was a bit of back and forth between Crownbet and the ACMA over whether the Spiderwick Chronicles really counted as children’s programming but the ACMA wasn’t budging.

Fortunately for Nine Networks and Crownbet, the ACMA has no authority to hand out punishments for first offenses, though they suggested that any “reasonable person” could see that it was something children would be watching.

ACMA acting chairman Richard Bean backed that position in a statement to the Australian saying:

Since the code came into ­effect in December 2015, these types of commercials cannot be broadcast in programs principally directed to children, regardless of their classification.

A spokesperson for Nine took the ACMA’s hit with aplomb saying:

Today’s finding has provided clarity to ensure we protect our partners’ brands when placing their advertisements. We have now refined our placement protocols to reflect the decision.

Australian lawmakers have been cracking down on advertisements for gambling services during TV broadcasts in recent years and operator and punters can expect more laws like this one in the future.


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