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Gambling Legislation in Australia: The Latest Updates

Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard

To say that Australia loves gambling is something of an understatement. Aussies are absolutely crazy for all types of wagering and spend around $100 million annually on gambling products (which is pretty impressive for country with just 22 million people.)

That’s why the recent Australian Government ban on certain types of sports betting advertisements is so stunning. How could gambling operators push easy-going Australia into a ban of any kind? And what does it mean for affiliates?

Here’s everything you need to know about where the Australian s stand on online wagering.

What Got Banned and Why

For a couple years now, Australians have been subjected to a barrage of advertising promoting live betting odds during televised sporting events.

Not only did the wall-to-wall advertising distract viewers from the actual event, it was having an increasing effect on Australian youth. Outcry over the overabundance of ads prompted Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillarard into action saying:

Families have become increasingly frustrated about the penetration of live odds into sporting coverage, and worried that their son or daughter is now talking about the game, not through the prism of what’s happening on the field but through the prism of the associated betting.

Gillard, with the support of Senators on both sides of the gambling issue, introduced a new set of voluntary guidelines for televised sporting events.

The rules include a complete ban on live odds advertising during game play, and restricts standard gambling ads to breaks in play, such as halftime. (An exception was made for televised horse racing which children, presumably, do not watch.)

The Networks Buy In

Sensing the momentum behind the measure, Australian television networks are abiding by the ban. Julie Flynn, the CEO of Free, an Australian TV trade group said:

These are unprecedented restrictions for broadcasters but we accept the government has acted in response to community concern. We recognise that these are difficult issues and we will submit a revised code within the next two weeks in line with the Prime Minister’s announcement.

Given the sheer volume of live-odds advertisements during a typical cricket or AFL match, it’s easy to see why Flynn is less-than-enthusiastic about the new plan.

Are More Bans On the Way?

Rather than savoring a rare victory Australia’s anti-gambling caucus is saying that the current ban is a case of too-little-too-late. A small group of parliamentarians led by Senator Richard Di Natale is pushing for a more inclusive gambling ad ban that includes:

  • All gambling advertising before 9 p.m.
  • Odds discussions during sports commentary shows.
  • Integrated gambling content during sports broadcasts.

Australian gambling’s arch nemesis, South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon is pushing for something with a little more teeth. After finding a connection between organized crime and match fixing, Xenophon called for a complete ban on Australian sports betting. (We’d bet against that happening any day of the week.)

What It Means for Affiliates

The good news for Australia-facing affiliates is that these bans shouldn’t have too big an impact on online gambling. While there may be a small dip in conversions at first, it’s not likely to change how Australians view sports wagering.

It’s also unlikely that further bans will be pushed through. Gillard’s proposals are aimed at a very small segment of advertising and when it’s gone, it’s going to take a lot of the current outrage with it.

So until gambling operators push the envelope and figure out a new way of outraging the most punter-friendly country on the planet, everything should be ok in the Land Down Under.

What do you think of the Australian live-odds betting ban? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.