Australia: Further advertising restrictions for betting operators on the horizon

Gambling advertising, and in particular live odds during the broadcast of events, has been the subject of much attention and debate in Australia recently.

The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Advertising for Sports Betting) Bill 2013 [No. 2] 2013 is another attempt to address this issue. The Bill was introduced by Senator Richard Di Natale of the Greens party and read for the first time in the House of Representatives on 3 June.

The Bill, if passed, would:

• ban all gambling ads before 9pm;
• ban all odds during sport and sports related programs; and
• prevent information about sports betting during a broadcast if the information is provided by a commentator that has paid to broadcast the information.

This goes much further than the restrictions proposed by the Prime Minister on 26 May 2013 (which would ban live odds, ban the broadcast of gambling representatives and limit gambling advertising to scheduled breaks in play).

The proposed restrictions would have a significant impact on industry operators, who would effectively be prevented from advertising during the broadcast of events, except in very narrow circumstances.

Given that the report by the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform on the advertising and promotion of gambling services in sport is not due until 28 June 2013, it is highly unlikely that there will be enough support to pass this Bill. We will continue to monitor its progress.