Betting Sports odds and gambling codes registered | ACMA

Betting Sports odds and gambling codes registered

Sports fans can now enjoy broadcasts of live sporting events, without the constant intrusion of promotions of live odds during play. The Australian Communications and Media Authority today registered new codes of practice which limit betting odds promotions and gambling advertising during live sports broadcasts.

‘The ACMA worked with broadcasters to enhance and harmonise the codes so they provide appropriate community safeguards for the matters covered by them,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

At the conclusion of the coming Australian summer sports season, the ACMA will consider if there is a need to review the effectiveness of the new codes.

The ACMA will also continue to gather evidence about prevailing community standards, including through its research programme.

The codes have been developed by the commercial and subscription radio and television sectors of the broadcasting industry in response to palpable community concern and government policy. They provide audiences with a code-based complaints mechanism in relation to these issues.

During live sports broadcasts, the new codes:

  • prohibit the promotion of betting odds from the start until the end of play (there are limited exemptions including for the broadcast of multi-day sports and overseas live sport)
  • prohibit commentators from promoting betting odds during play, and for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the game
  • restrict generic gambling advertisements to before and after play, scheduled breaks in play and when play is suspended
  • require gambling representatives to be clearly identified at all times
  • prohibit gambling advertising that involves a gambling representative at or around, or appearing to be at or around, the ground at any time
  • prohibit gambling representatives appearing as part, or a guest, of the commentary team at any time.

As an evidence-informed regulator, the ACMA also previously commissioned research [pdf] into community attitudes about gambling advertising in live sports broadcasts. An infographic summarising the research is also available.

A summary of how the codes work during a typical live sport event is here.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 57/2013 - 31 July


Backgrounder

COAG decision

In May 2011, in response to community concern about the increase in the promotion of odds during broadcasts of live sporting events, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) issued a Communiqué indicating that Ministers had agreed to take action to reduce and control the promotion of live odds during live sports coverage. Governments were concerned that the promotion, including commentary by sporting role models, was becoming ‘insidious in live sports coverage’ and could significantly influence vulnerable and young people and normalise gambling behaviour.

Code development by industry

COAG stated that, in the first instance, industry would be provided with the opportunity to address the issue through amendments to their existing industry codes.

During 2012, the Government worked with broadcasting industry bodies to develop the principles that would guide these codes.

In May 2013, in response to increasing community concern, the former Prime Minister broadened the scope of the Federal Government’s policy, including to cover generic gambling advertisements (in addition to promotion of odds) and restrict the appearance and participation of representatives from gambling organisations during broadcasts of live sporting events.

The ACMA’s role

Following public consultation in late 2012 and early 2013, the industry representative bodies for the commercial and subscription television and radio sectors provided draft codes to the ACMA for consideration in June.

The ACMA must register a code of practice if it is satisfied that:

  • the code contains appropriate community safeguards for the matters covered by the code
  • the code is endorsed by a majority of broadcasters to which it applies
  • members of the public have had an adequate opportunity to comment on it.

Throughout June and July, the ACMA worked with these industry bodies to enhance the codes and to harmonise them across these commercial broadcasting industry sectors.

The current codes

Community concern has been particularly focused on live sports broadcasts—ACMA research indicates that 66 per cent of Australians find the promotion of odds during live sporting events unacceptable. The codes of practice provide community safeguards in this area. They also limit generic gambling advertisements during live sports broadcasts.

However, the codes do not cover the field of community concerns around gambling advertising and general sports programming. For example, ACMA research also indicates just over 60 per cent of the community find unacceptable the presentation of odds and general gambling advertisements during sports-related programs.

Further action by the ACMA

The ACMA will consider if there is a need to review the effectiveness of the new codes following the Australian summer sports season and will continue to examine community attitudes in order to inform its decision-making on any future regulatory initiatives. 

Last updated: 11 October 2013