Gambling ads during sports broadcasts have been exempted from Australia’s pending review of its online betting legislation.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s government announced that it would conduct a review of the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act to ensure the law kept pace with technological change. The ability of online betting firms to advertise during sports broadcasts was reportedly among the criteria up for study.
Not any more. On Wednesday, The Australian reported that Social Services Minister Scott Morrison had stripped all references to advertising from the review’s terms of reference. Morrison reportedly made the change following protests by commercial television operators, who have spent big bucks securing broadcast rights to major sports events and rely on betting ads to help offset these costs.
Australian bookies were also apprehensive about the possibility of losing this marketing avenue. CrownBet, under its former BetEasy identity, inked a five-year, A$50m official betting partnership last year with the Australian Football League that gives CrownBet first dibs on integrated advertising with the AFL’s broadcast partners. CrownBet CEO Matt Tripp called the deal “an acquisition driver for all sports” and said bookies were in a “land grab” to secure such rights.
Independent Sen. Nick Xenophon, who believes the phrase ‘bet your bottom dollar’ should be expunged from the song Tomorrow, was predictably miffed about Morrison’s decision, saying it appeared that Abbot’s Liberal government “has put up the white flag on advertising without putting up a fight in the first place.”
AUSSIES CONTINUE GLOBAL BETTING DOMINANCE
Meanwhile, Australia has once again emerged triumphant on H2 Gambling Capital’s latest chart of the world’s top gambling spenders. Australian adults lost an average $1,279 on various forms of gambling in 2014, narrowly edging out Singapore’s $1,243. Both regions were light years ahead of the United States, which ranked third with $705.
With the exception of New Zealand (#6, $602) and Canada (#11, $517), the rest of the top 15 big spending nations were all in Europe, with Ireland ($684) and Finland ($657) leading the charge. The UK, where gambling in its multitudinous forms has been legal for a long time, could only manage 10th place with an average $527 spent per adult.