Proposed Code to Penalise Irresponsible Gambling Ads

There are laws regulating alcohol and tobacco, and now the same may apply to gambling services in Australia. This week, the Australian Association of National Advertisers proposed a code that would penalise gaming operators for ‘irresponsible’ advertisements.

The AANA has stated that the code would apply to all forms of advertising, such as print, radio, television and web. This would reduce the number of ads that are displayed to vulnerable individuals, such as children or problem gamblers and potentially encourage responsible gambling.

“The AANA wagering code would provide industry with a clear guide on what constitutes responsible marketing and advertising of wagering services and it would apply across Australia and across all platforms,” says Sunita Gloster, CEO of the AANA.

The submission in favour of such a code has been put forward due to the increasing number of risky gambling ads that have appeared in various forms in recent years. Between 2010 and 2015, 692 complaints referring to 94 different gambling ads were made, six of which were eventually found to breach the AANA code of ethics. As such, there is certainly a need for more regulation for how marketers portray gambling in advertisements.

One of the common ways in which marketers breach the code of ethics is by sexualising gambling. Many banned advertisements have equated gambling with romantic success, with men who gamble being more likely to attract beautiful women. Another way that betting operators tend to breach the code is by offering misleading incentives to players. The proposed law would aim to ensure that these types of ads do not air – and, if they do, that they will be banned immediately.

“Sanctions and penalties should be sufficient to deter breaches of the rules. This includes the ability to enforce removal and adequate modification prior to reuse,” the submission stated.