One group has a plan that could sweeten the deal for Australian television networks that will be affected should the gambling reform plan pushes through.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform has tabled a proposal that will give commercial TV broadcasters a discount on their license fee for every betting advertisement that they reject, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Under the plan, a network’s Commonwealth TV license would be reduced by a dollar for every dollar that they did not take from a sports betting company—potentially giving the broadcaster up to AUD150 million (USD112.13 million) in discounts annually.
The alliance’s director for strategy Rohan Wenn told the news outlet that the goal is to “get rid of the ads that are killing the codes we love.”
The idea has already been pitched to South Australian Senate powerbroker Nick Xenophon and Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie, according to the alliance.
Xenophon and Wilkie, if you recall, is dusting off the gambling reform plan—one that was junked in 2010—which will pave the way for a ban on sports betting advertising as well as a maximum $1 bet on poker machines, among other measures. Xenophon touched the issue of commercial TV licensing last week, when he said that it was unfair that local TV broadcasters had to pay fees when its competitors like Netflix do not.
The lawmaker was quoted saying: “Networks should not have to be out of pocket; it should be the online bookies.”
There’s just one problem: television networks are slamming the efforts to restrict their ability to advertise.
According to Free TV Australia, the industry body representing Australia’s free-to-air TV licensees, there are already “extensive measures” in place that ensure “community standards are met and that there is responsible advertising and promotion of betting services.”
A spokesperson for Free TV Australia pointed out that while TV broadcasting license fees need an urgent reform to “maintain a strong free-to-air industry,” it should be done in a way that the process will “not be linked to further content restrictions.”