In March 2018, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) banned all gambling adverts, during broadcasts of sports events on Australian television, between the hours of 5am and 8.30pm. The ban was also extended to streaming services in September, 2018.
Gambling adverts are allowed to be shown after the 8.30pm watershed, but are restricted to defined breaks. For long-form events such as the Olympics, broadcasters and streamers must not show adverts from five minutes before the start of the first event of the day until 8.30pm, and not more than once every two hours after that time.
An ACMA investigation however, found that throughout July and August 2021, Australian broadcasters, Seven Network, aired 49 betting promotions during its coverage of the summer Olympic Games, on its Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide broadcasts. Nine Network was also found to have made adverts available on its live stream, of the Games.
A separate ACMA-led investigation also discovered that the networks, broadcast a gambling advert at 8.21pm during the half-time break of the National Rugby League grand finale, on 3 October 2021.
In response to the findings, Seven and Nine Networks each entered court-enforceable undertakings with ACMA, which required them to implement systems that will help them to avoid breaking the rules again and provide refresh trainings, for staff responsible for the scheduling and broadcast of gambling adverts, during sports programming.
The networks, would also track the complaints and responses about gambling advertisements, and must report back to ACMA, on trainings and the effectiveness of their new systems and practices.
Seven network was also issued a formal warning, for its live stream breaches.
According to the chairperson of ACMA; Nerida O’Loughling, these rules are put in place to address community concerns, about excessive exposure to betting promotions, She stated that both faulted networks, were well aware that they have to keep these gambling ads, limited to certain times.
She added that many families enjoy watching sport events as a shared activity and parents worry that children exposed to these ads, may normalise betting as a part of sport.
She went on to add that, it was disappointing that both networks, have failed to meet their responsibilities on such high-profile sporting events.