Sports Betting Sector Has Reportedly Offered to Remove Logos from Football Club Match-Day Jerseys

October 30, 2023 | Advertising

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia (October 30, 2023) — The Australian sports betting sector has reportedly offered to remove logos from football club match-day jerseys in an attempt to defuse a standoff with the government over potential restrictions on gambling advertisements. The Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, is preparing to announce measures to curtail TV, online, and outdoor betting promotions. The gambling industry has engaged in talks with government officials and has proposed several measures to address the issue, including the removal of advertising from football jerseys, taking advertisements off radio airwaves at school pick-up times, and implementing rules similar to those in Victoria that prohibit promotions on billboards and around schools.

In 2022, research by Swinburne University of Technology revealed that about half of the clubs in the National Rugby League (NRL) still had partnerships with bookmakers. Across 14 elite sports in Australia, there were 21 such partnerships. In contrast, Australian Football League (AFL) clubs have been moving away from jersey sponsorships with betting firms, similar to commitments made by English Premier League clubs to do so by 2025.

The government has assessed the potential financial impact of a blanket ban on TV and digital advertising, a measure that has gained support from some crossbench MPs and anti-gambling advocates. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has compared the promotion of sports gambling to the promotion of tobacco products and expressed the belief that it should be treated similarly in the future.

Government officials involved in the discussions have also considered milder interventions favored by media companies and bookmakers. One option under consideration is a limit of one to three advertisements per hour, per TV channel, with the government also addressing how such changes would apply to streaming services.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland faces the challenge of responding to the community’s frustration with gambling advertisements, especially those linked to sports broadcasts, while also considering the financial implications for NRL and AFL clubs and broadcasters, which earn significant revenue from the marketing spending of foreign-owned gambling firms.

Labor MP Peta Murphy chaired a committee inquiry that recommended a complete ban on gambling ads and promotions across all media within three years. Some existing restrictions on gambling promotions include a ban on gambling ads during live sports events until 8.30 pm, though betting firms use half-time and other breaks to advertise. Ads are also prohibited between 4 pm and 7 pm during shows rated C, P, or G, with exceptions for news and current affairs programs.

Anti-gambling advocate Tim Costello has compared the gambling debate to the tobacco debate and argued that half-measures may not be sufficient, advocating for a full ban. He noted that European nations are moving toward full bans on gambling advertising, and public opinion is in favor of such measures.

The government is currently considering the recommendations of Peta Murphy’s committee, but there are calls for faster action. Critics argue that anything short of a full ban on gambling advertising may be seen as the government being influenced by the gambling industry and its interests.

SOURCE: LI Contributor.

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