The industry body that represents the subscription media industry on the territory of Australia – the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) – has been reported to be reviewing its Subscription Television Broadcasting and Narrowcasting Codes of Practice.
As reported by AdNews, the regulator is starting consultation with the local gambling industry representatives on a draft of its rules concerning live sports broadcasts gambling adverts. The process could end up with stricter restrictions enabled for gambling adverts in the country. If new rules regarding the existing Codes of Practice are to be implemented, they would most likely see more restrictions to be made between 5:00 AM and 8:30 PM.
ASTRA revealed that submissions are allowed to be made until December 22nd. Also, any changes in the existing status quo would need to be given the green light by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The amendments, if any, are set to be brought to action in March 2018.
Over the past few years, the gambling ads segment has become one of the fastest growing businesses in terms of spending. According to figures presented by Standard Media Index, the amount of money invested in gambling adverts have reportedly increased by 160% from $91 million in 2011 to $236 million in 2015.
Codes of Practice Changes Considered
The possible changes that could be implemented in the Subscription Television Broadcasting and Narrowcasting Codes of Practice of ASTRA are to include two key features. The possible changes would come as part of the so-called Media Reform package after the Government’s announcement made in May 2017. The amendments have also been considered due to the increasing pressure from various local lobby groups that have been calling for the Government to act more responsibly and take some measures on possible negative effects from such advertising.
First, broadcast of commercials associated with gambling and betting is expected to be suspended over live sporting events. The ban would also include commercials broadcast over both scheduled and unscheduled breaks during live sporting events.
The other major change that is sought in the existing Codes of Practice of the Association is once again related to the gambling and betting adverts broadcast. A ban is considered to be imposed on such commercials and promotion of betting odds for 5 minutes before the set start time of play as well as for 5 minutes after the play is brought to an end.
The new rules considered as part of the upcoming changes refer to betting advertising, but sports tipping competitions and fantasy sports are to be excluded. Live sports broadcast appearance is also to be excluded from the amendments’ scope.
At present times, the Codes of Practice featured by the ASTRA include distinct rules for different sports advertising. After any possible changes are enacted in March 2018, TV networks would still be provided with the opportunity to broadcast gambling adverts from 8:30 PM to 4:59 AM under the current rules, including over scheduled and unscheduled breaks, as well as before and after play.