As regulators begin to look at ways to curb the proliferation of online sports betting, New South Wales (NSW) has banned the advertisement of live odds during sporting broadcasts.
An announcement by the state’s deputy premier Troy Grant on Saturday makes the placement of in-play odds, such as those that update according to the scoreboard or offer individuals the opportunity to guess which team will score next, prohibited from being broadcasted in NSW next year. The risk of dangerous gambling is increased by live odds by encouraging impulse betting or chasing losses by bettors, according to Grant who is also the gaming and racing minister in NSW. According to The Guardian, Grant said, “There is no doubt the sports betting market is becoming increasingly competitive as operators aggressively chase market share through promotions, so it’s important that regulation moves with the industry.”
What that means is that television broadcasts that include in-play advertisements from betting operators either during play or breaks need to be dropped or adjusted for NWS audiences. The ban applies to events that are less than four hours in duration from “siren to siren,” meaning golf tournaments or Test cricket will be excluded. While it has yet to be quantified exactly how much money is being spent on online gambling, between 2010 and 2013 betting agencies spent nearly four times more on advertising, almost $48m.
An associate professor at Deakin University, Samantha Thomas, said that while the ban was a move in the right direction, viewers, including children, would still be exposed to generic gambling advertising via sponsorship in stadiums and logos on jerseys. According to Thomas, the ban only affects a small part of the total sum of the marketing that occurs during sporting events.
An August report by Financial Counselling Australia detailed the unsolicited credits being offered to customers who were already in debt by online gambling operators. Use of aggressive marketing tactics where in some cases customers were offered substantial amounts of credit with no consideration given to the person’s well-being or their ability to repay the debt, were outlined in the report. The report prompted the state’s Independent Gambling Authority (IGA) to propose regulatory changes to the South Australian Gambling Code of Practice, which would mean that online operators in South Australia would no longer be able to offer their customers unsolicited credits. Operators not in compliance with the code would be subject to fines of up to $100,000. Upon approval, the regulatory changes could go into effect as soon as the beginning of January, 2016.
Nineteen licensed online gambling companies service 74,000 registered betting accounts within South Australia’s borders alone.