Australia is one of those countries that usually takes a live-and-let-live approach to online gambling. Aussies are free to wager online and operators are free to advertise their products during Australian sporting events.
That arrangement worked out pretty well in the wager-happy Land Down Under until a recent explosion of live odds advertising during television sports broadcasts inspired the Australian Government into action.
A few months ago they introduced a new, voluntary, set of guidelines that severely limit both the number, and type, of gambling ads that run during live events.
Things had become so bad that Australian Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy said, “Australians are sick of having gambling, and live odds in particular, rammed down their throat.” (That’s really saying something in a country that spends more per capita on gambling – around $1208 – than anywhere else in the world.)
Under the new guidelines, talk of live odds has been throttled and bookmakers have been removed from broadcasting booths. (More generic gambling advertising, however, is still permitted.)
The Big Picture
The big question for Australian-facing operators and affiliates is whether or not these sanctions are enough on their own; or are they just the first of many new regulations? Probably not.
As we’ve pointed out, Australians are some of the most prolific gamblers on the planet and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Not only that, but sports betting isn’t even one the bigger gambling markets Down Under.
Though there’s definitely a anti-gambling caucus in the Australian Parliament, the new regulations aren’t necessarily representative of that faction and its chief spokesman, Senator Nick Xenophon from South Australia. That group thinks the voluntary guidelines don’t go nearly far enough.
A Warning Shot
The message being sent out by the Australian Government is that gambling companies have gone too far promoting live odds. In an interview with PRI’s The World radio program, University of Wollongong researcher Samantha Thomas echoed a sentiment that’s shared by many Australians saying:
What we’re concerned about is not whether or not these are deliberately targeting children, but whether or not children are exposed to the advertising.
We have children — sometimes 10-13 percent of a sporting match audience — being exposed to a very, very adult message and a very adult product.
At the end of the day, Australian-facing affiliates shouldn’t worry too much about the new advertising sanctions. They seem to be little more than a shot across the bow warning offshore gambling companies to simply back off a bit.
Unless you’re making tons of money promoting Australian Football League live betting, chances are that Australia will remain fertile ground for conversions and plentiful affiliate revenue.
Have the new Aussie advertising restrictions had an impact on your business? Share your experiences in the comments section below.