The Australian federal government is poised to introduce new laws as early as next week to ban gambling advertising during live sports television broadcasts.
According to The Australian, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield will put forward the proposal to the cabinet on Tuesday, after having met with AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan and NRL Chief Operating Officer Nick Weeks to discuss the prospect. The intended measures would affect all betting advertisements from “siren to siren”, or from the first whistle to the last of a televised sports event.
However, the imminent move has attracted criticism from sporting bodies, which say the ban could have a negative impact on funding for grassroots sports and initiatives. A senior source at a major sporting body told the outlet: “This will drive punters to overseas websites and it will result in no reduction in gambling, but a reduction in taxation to state and federal governments.”
Malcolm Speed, the Executive Director of the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, which represents all major codes in Australia, also hit out at the likelihood of new restrictions: “We don’t support a ban on sports betting advertising, on the basis that it is likely to impact on media rights deals or the value of media rights, which is the sports’ greatest asset.”
Should the new laws be introduced, the federal government is understood to be willing to negotiate with the sports networks that will be impacted by a loss of betting advertisement revenues. The Australian reports that the government will “engage in a trade off” by lowering licensing fees for the free-to-air TV networks. However, it is not yet clear whether a similar deal will be struck to compensate subscription television.
As yet, no Australian licensed bookmaker has commented on the matter.