June 19, 2023 3 min read

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NSW Regulator Launches Gambling Ads Review Amid Alleged Anti-Harm Breaches

Liquor & Gaming New South Wales has issued show-cause notices to Entain and BlueBet for allegedly undermining mandatory anti-harm messages in two TV advertisements

In response to alleged breaches of the federal government’s enforced gambling harm taglines, Australia’s Liquor & Gaming New South Wales has announced a comprehensive review of gambling advertisements across various media platforms. 

Entain and BlueBet Face Regulatory Action for Undermining Anti-Harm Messages in Ads

Entain, the parent company of Ladbrokes and Neds, as well as ASX-listed BlueBet, have been issued show-cause notices by the regulator after purportedly undermining the mandatory anti-harm messages in two television advertisements.

The NSW regulator revealed that these instances prompted a thorough evaluation of all wagering advertisements on television, radio, and social media since the introduction of the regulations in March, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald. While some argue that no specific instructions regarding volume or voice were outlined during the implementation of the requirements, Liquor & Gaming NSW maintains that irregularities in the ads necessitated the show-cause notices.

According to reports, one operator allegedly lowered the volume of the responsible gambling message, making it barely audible compared to the rest of the ad. The other operator purportedly modified the tone of the voice-over during the delivery of the message, transitioning from a strong and confident voice to a soft and passive one.

Stricter Regulations Loom as Online Gambling Firms Fail to Deliver Anti-Harm Messages

Since March, online gambling companies have been obligated to include one of seven anti-harm messages in their advertising across various platforms, including TV, video, radio, digital, print, social media, outdoor, and promotional advertising. These new taglines replaced the previous “gamble responsibly” tagline. Additionally, wagering firms are required to rotate the taglines equally over a 12-month period to ensure effective message dissemination.

Failure to provide clear harm-reduction messaging under the national consumer protection framework may result in penalties of up to $110,000 in New South Wales for wagering operators.

In anticipation of recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry into gambling harm, the industry is preparing for potential further restrictions on gambling advertising. The parliamentary standing committee on social policy and legal affairs, led by Peta Murphy, is expected to propose stricter regulations on gambling advertising before and after live sports broadcasts. Although this policy has bipartisan support, concerns have been raised by sporting bodies about the impact on funding for grassroots sports due to potential declines in advertising revenue.

The Guardian recently banned gambling advertising across all its channels both domestically and globally. In 2022, gambling and gaming companies in Australia spent around AUD310 million ($212.7 million) on advertising, with TV networks and digital platforms like YouTube and TikTok receiving the majority. Additionally, sports betting groups invest millions in sponsorships for stadiums and sports clubs. Total annual expenditure by the sector is estimated to exceed AUD600 million ($412.4 million).

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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