Australia’s Nine Network and Network Ten have been found in breach of their commercial license conditions by ‘promoting interactive gambling services’. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) claims the breaches occurred when both networks aired ads for PokerStars – in Nine’s case, the ads appeared during its coverage of the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championship, while Ten ran the ads during its The Poker Star reality program.
While the ads in question were for PokerStars.net, the Chairman of the ACMA wasn’t buying the distinction between .net and .com. Chris Chapman says that the Interactive Gambling Act “targets the providers of interactive gambling services and makes it an offence to provide certain services to a customer in Australia. It also prohibits the broadcasting and publication of advertisements for interactive gambling services.”
This action marks the ACMA’s first rulings against a broadcaster for this type of violation, so perhaps it and Chapman were being a little overzealous. But to the ACMA’s credit, the punishment fit the ‘crime’, as Nine and Ten are only being required to embark on a program to ‘educate’ their staff to better recognize the difference between good advertising dollars and bad ones.