Televised live sporting matches in Australia will look differently by the end of the month as the “siren to siren” ban on gambling ads take effect.
Mumbrella reported that the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) will implement new advertising rules on March 30, including the prohibition of all gambling ads during live sport coverage between 5 a.m. and 8.30 p.m.
The ban takes effect five minutes before the start of play and extends to five minutes after the game ends, according to the new ASTRA rules approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
On a regular day, gambling commercials will be allowed to air subject to the pre-existing gambling advertising rules. Except for any Fox Sports channel, ASTRA has exempted all sports channels with an audience share of below 0.5 percent from the new rules.
The betting ad ban on live sports broadcasts first reared its ugly head in May 2017 when federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield confirmed that his office was preparing new restrictions on gambling advertisements.
Fifield explained that the restrictions were meant to protect the welfare of children and vulnerable young men. Fifield said further legislation would ensure similar rules apply to online content.
For many, the restriction was a continuation of the persecution that the government has launched against Australia’s betting industry.
Commercial Radio Australia said the new rules give online media operators undue advantage. The group lamented that similar restrictions for online platforms had seen delays, causing an uneven playing field.
“In fact, the legislation that will underpin rules to be developed by the ACMA has not yet been passed by the Parliament,” CRA CEO Joan Warner said in a statement. “This creates a real risk that gambling advertising will simply be shifted online for the time, possibly some months, during which no rules apply.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s Coalition for Major Professional and Participation Sports had earlier expressed its support for a compromise that would enable radio and television stations to broadcast a gambling ad once every two hours during long-form sports or multi-sport competitions.
The sports coalition warned the Australian government of a possible dip in sports revenues since wagering companies have been major contributors to the sector.