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Australian TV networks Seven and Nine called out for gambling ad violations

Australia’s top two TV networks Seven and Nine have been ordered to implement new systems after violating the country’s rules on gambling ads.

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Throughout July and August 2021, Seven aired 49 betting promotions during its Olympic coverage, an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has uncovered.

Similarly, a separate investigation found that Nine broadcast a gambling advertisement at 8:21pm during the half-time break of the National Rugby League’s Grand Final in October 2021.

Broadcasters may not air adverts for gambling products or services during their live coverage of sporting events between 5am and 8:30pm.

For longer-form events, such as the Olympics, broadcasters cannot air a gambling ad from five minutes before a day’s first event begins until the 8:30pm watershed, and after that, not more than once every two hours.

“These rules exist to address community concerns about excessive exposure to betting promotions. Both Seven and Nine are well aware that they have to keep these ads to certain times,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“Many families enjoy watching sport as a shared activity and parents worry that children exposed to these ads may normalise betting as a part of sport.”

Consequently, Seven and Nine have entered “court-enforceable undertakings” with the ACMA. They are required to implement new systems “to avoid breaking the rules again.”

Both networks must also refresh their training for staff responsible for “the scheduling and broadcast of gambling advertisements during sports programming.”

The ACMA expects Seven and Nine to report back on the training and effectiveness of their new systems and practices.

O’Loughlin continued: “It is disappointing that both networks have failed to meet their responsibilities on such high-profile sporting events.”

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