ACMA reminds operators of gambling advertising rules

By Peter Lynch

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has reminded all licensed operators across the country to comply with gambling advertising rules.

The announcement comes after the ACMA highlighted a number of inconsistencies in how several operators have interpreted the current regulations.

Introduced in 2018, the rules state that gambling advertising cannot be shown during live sport on television, online and radio between the hours of 5:00am and 8:30am, with more lenient advertising restrictions in place outside this period.

The ACMA monitored the Online Content Service Provider Rules by gathering information about the placement of gambling ads during live-streamed sports coverage, while also contacting online providers to gain further information about their gambling advertising practices.

Having monitored the rules for 12 months, the ACMA found no major concerns, but did identify a number of inconsistencies in how providers had interpreted the rules.

Such inconsistencies included issues with the use of exemptions, as well as with record-keeping requirements.

The former involves an issue set out under the Broadcasting Service Act 1992, which allows for an identical online simulcast of a live sporting event to be exempt from the advertising rules.

“The ACMA found this exemption is being widely used, and sometimes combined with an exemption for low audience share subscription television channels from the broadcasting codes of practice restrictions,” the ACMA said.

“As the size of online audiences for live sporting events continues to grow in Australia, it may be relevant to also consider the potential online audience share for live sporting events broadcast on TV, so that exemptions continue to apply as intended, where there are genuinely small audiences.”

The inconsistencies with record-keeping requirements meanwhile involves the types of records kept, which varied between individual providers.

The ACMA has welcomed the keeping of records, but has warned that such records must comply with the rules that are in place.

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