Ban on Sports Betting Ads After Online Gambling Spike

The surge in online gambling in Australia during the pandemic has provoked concerns related to sports betting ads and their effect on players.

Foreign Operators in Australia with Enormous Gains During Covid-19

Foreign-owned corporate bookmakers have emerged as winners during the Covid-19 pandemic with an enormous increase in market value, which has put the issue of sports betting advertising at the forefront.

The British sports betting and gambling company Entain, which is headquartered in the Isle of Man, has experienced an $8 billion increase in value in the past year.

Flutter Entertainment, which was created by the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair, and the later acquisition of The Stars Group, increased in value by $30 billion during the pandemic. Additionally, its turnover grew by 46% and its revenue was up 59% in Australia last year.

The Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) carried out a report on the gambling behavior in Australia during the pandemic and published its results in October 2020. The key findings show that almost 1 in 3 survey participants out of the 2,000 in total opened a new online betting account during Covid-19, and 1 in 20 started gambling online.

The results also show that the limited access to venues did not curb gambling levels, but had the opposite effect. People gambling four or more times a week increased from 23% to 32%. Horse racing, sports betting, greyhound racing and lotto were the preferred gambling activities both before and during Covid-19.

The recommendations of survey participants and key experts include a reduction in the marketing of gambling products and taking stronger actions towards consumer protection.

Low-Tax Regime Benefits Operators in The Northern Territory

The Northern Territory of Australia boasts a low-tax regulatory regime and a wagering tax cap of $575,000 annually, which benefits corporations, such as Flutter Entertainment and Entain.

According to Flutter’s financial results for 2020, average monthly players in Australia increased by 26% (more than 675,000 new customers) due to the closure of physical venues, as well as the racing continuing behind closed doors. The company’s estimates show that its share of the online market increased from 43% in 2019 to 46% in 2020.

On the other hand, the leading Australian operator Tabcorp said in February that earnings from its wagering and media business fell 3% in the six months to December 3. Its retail bookmaking operations experienced a 28% decrease in turnover, while online betting was on the rise with 43% due to the shutdown of brick-and-mortar casinos.

Brent Jackson, the chief executive of corporate bookmaker lobby group Responsible Wagering Australia, highlighted that problem gambling rates report a continuous fall, while wagering advertising complaints are at record lows.

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