Australian Gambling Adverts Proliferated on TV and Radio in 2022-23

OCR Editor. - October 17, 2023
Remote control changing TV channels

Surging by leaps and bounds, Australian airwaves recorded over a million gambling advertisements, showcasing an intensive marketing push by online gambling operators.

Gambling Adverts Dominate Australian Airwaves

A report recently published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) unveiled that in the year leading up to 30 April 2023, over a million gambling adverts graced Australian free-to-air television and metro radio. The most striking aspect of this report, derived from Nielsen Advertising intel data, is that a massive half of these adverts were by online gambling operators.

Detailed Breakdown of Gambling Adverts

In a deeper dive, online gambling adverts comprised a substantial 51% of all metro free-to-air TV ads, which amounts to 256,000 individual ads. This was followed by 20% for lotteries (99,500) and 17% for lottos (84,000). The remaining adverts concentrated on a mixture of on-premises gambling and racing activities.

When shifting the lens to regional TV, 34% of all gambling adverts were recorded. Online gambling here, too, took the lion's share at 58% (196,400), followed by lotteries and lottos at 16% (52,600) and 15% (49,600), respectively. On the metro radio side, 16% of the gambling adverts were broadcasted, with online gambling adverts making up 31% or 50,200.

Spectacular Advertising Spend

The advertising spending in this sector was no less phenomenal, reaching a whopping AU$238.6m. Dominating the spending charts, online operators were responsible for 64% of this total amount. On the media platform front, Metro TV emerged as the undisputed leader, consuming 56% of the ad spend, equivalent to $133.0m. Platforms like social media, regional TV, and metro radio followed suit.

Timing of the Adverts

A significant observation from the report was the scheduling of these adverts. Metro and regional TV displayed a surge between 9 pm and 10 pm, aligning with the Australian regulations preventing gambling ads during live sports from 5 am to 8.30 pm. Metro radio, however, showcased a spike around 6 pm, presumably targeting the commuting crowd, with another minor peak during the early morning rush hours.

ACMA's Perspective on the Gambling Landscape

ACMA's report shed light on Australia's gambling culture, indicating that approximately 73% of Australian adults engaged in gambling between July 2021 and July 2022. Although gambling is deeply embedded as entertainment in Australian society, it has potentially dire consequences, resulting in grave financial and social implications for some individuals and their families.

This thorough research and its findings come at a crucial time, particularly as the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has shifted its attention to the impact of gambling advertisements. ACMA is confident that this information will contribute to ongoing conversations and influence policy or regulatory changes in this area.

The ACMA report casts a spotlight on the aggressive marketing strategies employed by the gambling industry, particularly online operators. With increasing attention on the impact of such advertising, how Australia navigates the delicate balance between entertainment and potential harm remains to be seen.

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