Australian Media Conglomerate Accused of Advertising Lottery Products without Clearly Disclosing Paid Partnership Arrangement with Lottery Operator
SYDNEY, Australia (April 13, 2023) — Media conglomerate News Corp Australia has allegedly been marketing lottery products via paid articles disguised as news pieces, local news outlets reported.
According to an article written by Olivia Cole for the ‘Casino Guardian‘ it has been established that the media company receives a cut from tickets purchased through its links and earns money from publishing marketing materials about Mater Prize Home lottery winners. The process is similar to how online gambling affiliate networks operate, the main difference being the advertising articles in this case were not clearly labelled as promotional materials.
One such article was recently published on several News Corp websites, including news.com.au, the Herald Sun, the Courier Mail, the Daily Telegraph, and the Gold Coast Bulletin. The article in question-related the story of a man who recently purchased a $2 Mater Lotteries ticket and ended up winning an island home in Queensland valued at $2.5 million. Another similar article informed readers a $2 lottery ticket and a little luck could possibly earn them $78,000 in annual income.
A link leading to the lottery’s official website was again featured in the publication, along with a brief explanation stating that News Corp might earn money from third parties for publishing this content as well as from ticket purchases initiated through the links featured in the article. However, this disclosure was placed at the very end of the publication. A representative of Mater Lotteries subsequently confirmed the media company was an advertising client.
As it turned out, the articles were penned by reporters of News Corp who used marketing materials from the lottery operator. The article published on the news.com.au website featured quotes and photos from a publication on the lottery’s website about the man who won an island home. Also included were quotes from Andrew Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the Mater Foundation, who touted the merits of purchasing lottery tickets and remarked how incredible it was to witness the lives of lottery winners changing in a flash.
A Disclosure Statement Was Subsequently Added at the Beginning of the Articles
Local news outlets reached out to the media company for comment and a disclosure statement was subsequently added at the beginning of the articles, informing readers about the commercial arrangement between News Corp and Mater Lotteries. This time, the disclosure clearly stated that the articles were published as part of a paid partnership with the lottery operator. The new statement also explained that the proceeds from the lottery ticket purchases go toward charity and the funding of medical research and patient care.
A spokesperson for the media conglomerate also commented on the matter, explaining that the editorial content featured on the News Corp websites is published at the discretion of the editorial staff and is not influenced by any paid partnerships or commercial arrangements the company might have. An article about a person whose life changed overnight because they bought a winning lottery ticket that also helped fund a charity was clearly worth reporting on, the spokesperson said. They stressed that references to the commercial partnership between Mater and News Corp were included at the end of the piece.
Nonetheless, some people like the well-known gambling researcher Dr Charles Livingstone, still argue that such publications are essentially advertising gambling products. And while the lottery is typically associated with a lower risk of developing a problem, articles like these are still normalising gambling, according to Dr Livingstone. This could prove an issue for people with a past history of problem gambling, even more so, if they are making efforts to abstain from further betting.
The researcher explained that the probability of winning with a single lottery ticket is incredibly low at 1 in 11.19 million, while promoters could earn much more provided that all tickets were sold. Promoting gambling products in this manner is unethical according to Dr. Livingstone, who called for stricter gambling advertising regulations.
Author: Olivia Cole.
SOURCE: Casino Guardian.Tags: gambling advertising, Promoting gambling products, news.com.au, News Corp websites