Advertisers Fall Foul to Australian Gambling Regulations

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Australia’s media regulator has found gambling companies are not strictly following its advertising rules.

The Indian Wire reports the Australian Communications and Media Authority stated that after a 12-month observation, rules that place restrictions such as a ban on gambling advertisements from 5 am to 8.30 am, the prohibition of gambling ads over live sport on television or on radio or line is not being followed.

The relaxed advertising norms exist outside these hours.

However, gambling operators have been interpreting and bending the rules as per their own will, the report said.

On this, ACMA stated that: “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.”

“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 television, so that exemptions continue to apply as intended, where there are genuinely small audiences.”

SkyCity warned by NZ government over advertising breach

Image of SkyCity Casino logo

New Zealand casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group has been warned by the government that its Malta-licensed online casino was flouting local advertising laws.

In July, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs issued a formal warning to SkyCity regarding its Malta-licensed site.

The DIA found that an email SkyCity sent its loyalty program members in March had breached rules against promoting internationally licensed online gambling sites.

SkyCity’s Malta-based subsidiary launched its Gaming Innovation Group-powered online casino in August 2019, offering a mix of RNG and live dealer casino games.

Customers were required to be physically located in New Zealand, despite the country having yet to authorise online casino gambling.

The offending email informed SkyCity customers that, while its land-based gaming operations had been halted by COVID-19, its online casino was “operating as usual”.

A customer viewed this pitch as contravening Kiwi rules regarding the promotion of prohibited gambling products and filed a complaint with the DIA.

The DIA launched a month-long investigation, eventually concluding that SkyCity hadn’t ‘deliberately’ violated the Gambling Act 2003.

DIA director Chris Thornborough reportedly told the complainant that education was the DIA’s preferred first step regarding such complaints but the government would “take any further breaches seriously.”

A SkyCity spokesperson told local media that the March email was intended to simply “advise customers of the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SkyCity’s operations.”

SkyCity maintains that it didn’t break the rules but the company “respects the view of the department however and will take into account the feedback received.”

Gambling advertising to be removed from UK screens

The United Kingdom’s Betting and Gaming Council said all its members had voluntarily agreed to remove all forms of advertising for at least the next six weeks.

Bandt reported in April that the BGC, which represents betting shops, online betting and gaming, bingo and casinos, said the move would result in the removal of half of all product advertising on television and radio.

The move comes after the industry was blamed for exploiting vulnerable people during lockdown.

Earlier this month, a group of 20 British MPs signed a letter calling for curbs on gambling, including a moratorium on advertising.

BGC’s chief executive Michael Dugher said: “We are determined to do everything we can to protect customers potentially at risk during this lockdown period and beyond.”

He added that all operators will “look to implement this change as rapidly as possible but no later than Thursday, May 7.”

William Brown


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