Alcohol and gambling ads | ACMA

Alcohol and gambling ads

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Did you know there are rules about when alcohol or gambling ads can be broadcast on TV or radio, and what they can contain?

Broadcasting rules for alcohol and gambling ads are set out in industry codes of practice that apply to radio and television, and in the Children’s Television Standards that apply to commercial television.

The FAQs below will help you figure out what’s allowed and how to complain if you think a gambling or alcohol ad breaches the rules.

Alcohol ads on TV and radio

FAQs

The rules

How to make a complaint

When can alcohol ads be broadcast on commercial free-to-air television?

Alcohol ads can be broadcast on commercial television between 12 noon and 3 pm on school days, and from 8.30 pm to 5 am on any day.

Alcohol ads can also be shown during sports programs on public holidays and weekends (starting from 6.00 pm Friday).

These rules are set out in the commercial television code of practice.

Alcohol ads cannot be broadcast on commercial television in Children’s (C) or Pre-school (P) classified programs— no matter when they are broadcast—or in the breaks immediately before or after them. These rules are in the Children’s Television Standards.

The ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code has restrictions about the placement of alcohol ads with content primarily aimed at minors.

To complain about the placement of alcohol ads on commercial TV, contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the commercial television code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, contact the ACMA.

To complain about the placement of alcohol ads in C and P programs, you can complain directly to the ACMA.

To complain about the placement of alcohol ads in programming primarily aimed at minors, Advertising Standards Bureau.

When can alcohol ads be broadcast on commercial radio?

There are no general restrictions in the broadcasting code of practice about the placement of alcohol ads on commercial radio.

The ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code has restrictions about the placement of alcohol ads with content primarily aimed at minors.

To complain about gambling ads that associate gambling with alcohol during live sports programs, you’ll need to contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the commercial radio code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, contact the ACMA.

To complain about the placement of alcohol ads in programming primarily aimed at minors, contact the Advertising Standards Bureau.

When can alcohol ads be broadcast on pay TV?

Pay TV broadcasters must be careful where they place alcohol ads and scheduling must take into account the intellectual and emotional maturity of the intended audience of the channel.

This means that an alcohol ad on a channel targeted at kids is likely to breach the rules in the subscription television code of practice.

The ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code has restrictions about the placement of alcohol ads with content primarily aimed at minors.

To complain about the placement of alcohol ads on pay TV, contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the relevant industry code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, contact the ACMA.

To complain about the placement of alcohol ads in programming primarily aimed at minors, contact the Advertising Standards Bureau.

When can alcohol ads be broadcast on SBS?

SBS can broadcast alcohol ads between 12 noon and 3 pm on school days, and between 8.30pm and 5 am any day.

Alcohol ads can also be shown during sports programs on public holidays and weekends (starting from 6.00 pm Friday).

These rules are set out in the SBS code of practice.

The ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code has restrictions about the placement of alcohol ads with content primarily aimed at minors.

To complain about the placement of alcohol ads on SBS, contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the SBS code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, contact the ACMA.

To complain about the placement of alcohol ads in programming primarily aimed at minors, contact the Advertising Standards Bureau.

How many alcohol ads can be broadcast per hour?

There aren’t any rules about how many alcohol ads can be broadcast on radio or TV.

The commercial free-to-air TV and SBS codes of practice do have hourly limits for advertising in general.

To complain about the amount of alcohol ads broadcast, contact the broadcaster first.

How to make a complaint is set out in the relevant industry code of practice.

If you’re not happy with the response, contact the ACMA.

What rules are there about the content of alcohol ads?

If you see or hear an alcohol ad on radio or TV you think is irresponsible—for example, if it appears to be targeted to kids—it may breach the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code.

Most states and territories have liquor promotion guidelines in place.

To complain about the content of any alcohol ad, contact the Advertising Standards Bureau.

Consult your relevant state or territory liquor authority.

Gambling ads on TV and radio

FAQs

The rules

How to make a complaint

Are ads for interactive gambling services allowed?

Ads about prohibited interactive gambling services—including online casino-style services and online wagering services that accept in-play betting on sports events—are banned on TV, radio and online.

To complain about prohibited interactive gambling ads, contact the ACMA.

Are gambling ads allowed during children’s TV shows?

Commercial free-to-air television:

Gambling ads can’t be shown during G, C and P classified programs broadcast between 6 am and 8.30am or 4 pm and 7pm.

They also can’t be shown in programs principally directed to children broadcast between 5am and 8.30pm on commercial television.

However, there is an exemption for news, sports programs and current affairs programs shown at these times.

Pay TV:

A gambling ad on a dedicated children’s channel is likely to breach the rules in the subscription television broadcast codes.

To complain about the placement of gambling ads on TV, you’ll need to contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the relevant industry code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, then contact the ACMA.

Are gambling ads allowed during sport?

Gambling ads can’t be broadcast during play in live sports events (other than horse, harness or greyhound racing).

During live sports events, they can only be broadcast:

  • before play has commenced
  • in breaks in play
  • after play has concluded.

If they are broadcast at these times, they must contain a responsible gambling message, be socially responsible, and not mislead or deceive the audience.

Gambling ads can be broadcast during sports events that aren’t broadcast live.

To complain about gambling ads during live sports on TV and radio, you’ll need to contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the relevant industry code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, then contact the ACMA.

Is the promotion of odds banned during live sport?

The promotion of betting odds is banned during play in live sports events.

It is also banned during breaks in play in live sports events (but there are special rules for long-form sports like Test Cricket and Olympics coverage).

Commentators of a live sports event aren’t allowed to promote betting odds in the 30minutes before or after play.

To complain about the promotion of odds during live sports on TV and radio, you’ll need to contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the relevant industry code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, then contact the ACMA.

How many gambling ads can be broadcast during a program?

There aren’t any rules about how many gambling ads can be broadcast on radio or TV.

There are hourly limits for advertising in general, on commercial free-to-air TV and SBS, which are set out in their industry codes of practice.

To complain about the amount of ads broadcast, you’ll need to contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the relevant industry code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, then contact the ACMA.

What claims can gambling ads make?

Advertisements encouraging excessive gambling, or that may make gambling attractive to children, may breach the AANA Code because it goes against the prevailing community standards around what constitutes safe or responsible gambling.

There are also state and territory rules about gambling advertising.

There are also rules in broadcasting industry codes of practice about gambling ads during live sport. These rules prohibit gambling ads that target children, make exaggerated claims or promote gambling as a way to get out of financial difficulty, for instance.

If you see or hear a gambling ad during live sport that you think crosses the line by doing any of these things, it may breach the rules in the industry codes of practice.

To complain about the content of gambling ads, that you think are irresponsible, contact the Advertising Standards Bureau.

Consult the relevant office responsible for gaming in your state or territory.

To complain about gambling ads during live sports on TV or radio, you’ll need to contact the broadcaster first.

How to do this is set out in the relevant industry code of practice.

If you’re not happy with their response, then contact the ACMA.

What is being done about all the gambling ads during live sport?

The government has announced further restrictions on gambling advertising during live sports programs broadcast before 8.30 pm on commercial and subscription television (including SBS), commercial radio and online platforms.

The ACMA is involved in changes to industry codes of practice, which will implement the further restrictions.

More information is available in this fact sheet from the Department of Communications and the Arts.

The ACMA will provide information on its website about how to make a complaint when these new rules are introduced.

Last updated: 19 December 2017