The Seven Network has faced an AU$13,320 penalty by the Australian media authority for repeated violations of the country’s gambling advertising ban during live sports events. The news about the fine emerged at a time when SBS had just announced its decision to start offering its viewers the chance to block gambling and fast food adverts for the first time.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) crackdown on the Seven Network follows revelations that the network broadcast 49 betting adverts during its coverage of the Olympic Games, and received a warning not to do it again or it could otherwise face a monetary fine. Despite the formal warning, the broadcasting group aired a gambling ad at 10:38 AM on 7plus during a live stream of a National Football League (NFL) American football game that took place on December 12th, 2022.
As mentioned above, currently, the ACMA prohibits gambling advertising during live streams of sporting events from 5:00 AM to 8:30 PM, including the five minutes before and after a game. The Seven Network explained that the streaming of the advert was an isolated event. Furthermore, the group has claimed that the measures it had in place were adequate to make sure it would comply with the country’s gambling advertising laws.
The ACMA, however, noted that it would continue to closely monitor the broadcaster’s compliance with the rules considering the fact that the Seven Network has repeatedly breached the law on multiple occasions.
Nerida O’Loughlin, the chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, revealed that the local public was extremely concerned about the level of Australian viewers’ exposure to gambling advertising in live sporting coverage across all broadcasters and their platforms. The regulatory body expects local broadcasting groups to feature robust systems and processes, as well as assurance mechanisms in place aimed at supporting the companies’ compliance with Australian laws.
Gambling Advertising Still Causes Major Concerns to Australian Regulators
In October, the ACMA found that over a million gambling adverts were aired on free-to-air television and radio channels in a 12-month period alone, while gambling operators have spent about AU$238 million on various campaigns to lure customers into their services. The findings came as Australia’s Federal Government has taken into consideration a bipartisan parliamentary committee’s recommendation seeking to suspend all online gambling adverts within three years to protect local people against potential gambling-related harm.
The 31 recommendations of the committee include a full ban on online gambling advertising, as well as suspending gambling companies from the chance to use special bonuses and other inducements to attract customers and encourage them to spend more and more money on their services.
As Casino Guardian reported earlier this week, SBS On Demand viewers will be given the chance to opt out from gambling, fast food and alcohol adverts aired on the platform. The move was announced by the managing director of the group, James Taylor, who described the decision as an example of responsible advertising at its finest.
SBS has managed to persuade some gambling and liquor advertisers to support its action by arguing that the new opt-out option not only provides viewers with better control but also makes sure that local advertisers are targeting customers with their products. As Mr Taylor explained, the broadcaster took significant steps to make sure that it was in line with the responsible advertising expectations of competent authorities.
The group’s managing director has also noted that, when it comes to certain categories, the group would use the benefits of digital services. He further shared that the latest decision of SBS would see the audiences get better control over the adverts that they see.