Tuesday 15. March, 2016

National Advertising Association Calling for Code for Betting Companies

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) is pushing for a code for betting companies in an attempt to curb irresponsible advertising. The advertising code would include financial penalties for irresponsible ads that are accessible to vulnerable people, such as children.

The association has said that the proposed code would distinguish between legal operators and illegal offshore operators. It would include all advertising platforms, including online, television, radio and print.

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation added that in order for the code to be successful, the penalties would need to be sufficiently serious to act as a deterrent.

“Sanctions and penalties should be sufficient to deter breaches of the rules,” a submission to the proposal by the foundation read. “This includes the ability to enforce removal and adequate modification prior to use.”

Between 2010 and 2015, the Australian Bureau of Advertising received 692 complaints against 94 gambling ads. Of those, six were judged to have breached the AANA code of ethics which led to four of them being removed.

The Australian Wagering Council, which represents William Hill Australia, Betfair, Bet365, Sportsbet and Unibet, said that there is fierce competition between wagering companies, as well as with illegal offshore companies and that they should be “free to promote their services”. However, the council said they would comply with any new codes and provisions, “whatever they may be.”

Their submission to the proposal added that in promoting their services they should ensure “their advertising conforms to accepted social standards and does not promote harmful behaviour or make implicit promises that undermine those standards.”

The proposal was criticised by the foundation for not focusing on placement of advertisements together with its content, stating that the appropriateness of content depends on “who is exposed, how they are exposed and how often they are exposed.”


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