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Australia Tightens up Rules on Gambling Advertising

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Australia has just implemented new restrictions on gambling advertising during live sporting events. The new rules went into effect March 30 after the passage of the Communications Legislation Amendment (Online Content Services and Other Measures) Bill 2017 on March 28. The bill gives the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) the power to enforce these prohibitions through fines that can climb beyond $300,000.

About the New Rules

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Broadcasters are now not allowed to run gambling-related advertising during live sports broadcasts between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. This restriction is also in effect for five minutes before and after a game. The rationale behind this measure is, at least in part, the protection of children from being targeted by betting services. The entities that must comply with the new strictures include over-the-air television stations, pay TV channels, and radio broadcasters. A set of similar regulations is expected to be deployed shortly by the ACMA regarding online streaming services.

There are a few exceptions written into the law. Coverage of horse and greyhound racing doesn't have to follow these rules. Perhaps betting odds and gambling info are so ingrained into these competitions that any ban on advertising them would be laughable.

Ads for government sponsored lotteries, keno, and other games are permitted. It's not really a surprise that the entity that's putting forward these restrictions exempts itself from the relevant provisions. This does call into question the whole “think of the children” reasoning because it's hard to see how lotteries and other government-backed gambling schemes are any less unwholesome than gambling products offered by private enterprises.

Subscription channels with low viewing numbers are allowed to operate outside these regulations. These outlets serve niche audiences that are interested in athletic contests that are held abroad or that otherwise don't appeal to broad swathes of the Australian public. It is believed that these media organizations count on advertising income from gambling firms to remain profitable in a way that their larger competitors don't have to. This, combined with the fact that most of them don't have many underage viewers, is the logic behind exempting these broadcasters from the burdens associated with the Communications Legislation Amendment.

Pay-per-view broadcasts are also exempt. Anyone who pays to watch such an event is presumably fine with whatever advertising is present, and so this coverage falls beyond the scope of the legislation.

History of the Bill


The Interactive Gambling Amendment of 2016 was approved by the Parliament of Australia in August 2017. It attempted to ban many types of online gambling, like poker, while allowing other forms of wagering, like sports-betting, to remain legal albeit with certain restrictions in place. This law, just like the prior iteration a decade before, has no method of enforcement versus offshore gambling companies, many of which jumped at the chance to enter the newly minted  "gray markets" in Australia.

In December 2017, the Communications Legislation Amendment (Online Content Services and Other Measures) Bill 2017 was introduced to enact regulations on advertising by the remaining gambling companies in the Australian market. Over the next few months, anti-gambling bodies, broadcasters, and gaming firms engaged in a tug of war, each seeking to modify the draft proposals in accordance with its own interests.

Media companies lobbied for being allowed to run gambling ads every two hours throughout “long-form” content, i.e., broadcasts lasting more than two hours. They were unsuccessful in this attempt. However, they are allowed to show such advertisements during extended breaks in test cricket, golf tournaments, and other prolonged events wherein the coverage is normally interrupted by regular programming.

The Communications Legislation Amendment (Online Content Services and Other Measures) Bill 2017 was approved by the Senate on March 27. The following day, it was voted on and passed in the House of Representatives.

You Can Still Wager Online

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Although you will likely see many fewer gambling advertisements on TV going forward, you still have many options for online gaming in Australia. There are plenty of offshore operators that are prepared to run the risk of offering their services to residents of the Land Down Under. It's important to note that individual bettors aren't targeted by the law; you're totally fine, from a legal perspective, if you wish to gamble a bit online.

TigerGaming lets you bet on sports, casino games, and the virtual poker tables all using a single account. You can obtain 100% up to $2,500 bonuses on your deposit for sports and poker along with three 100% up to $1,000 bonuses for casino games. Read our TigerGaming review page for more information.

There are plenty of other poker and gambling enterprises that welcome Australians. You can learn more about them with our Australia online poker page that goes into depth about Aussie laws, site reviews, history, etc.