Australia's best betting sites

NSW first state to caution overreach in gambling ad bans

The New South Wales (NSW) Government has reportedly expressed concerns about the pending anti-gambling ad bans planned by the Albanese Australian Government.

Of the many recommendations made by the gambling ad inquiry, almost all involve elements of state government control and therefore will require overwhelming state government support to be implemented.

The NSW Government has been the first out of the blocks to suggest that the proposed recommendations, if implemented as suggested, would be seen as an overreach.

The NSW Government’s position is not surprising.

Just this week, they have had to revise planned state budget estimates downward, with an estimated loss of $400 million in Point Of Consumption Tax (POCT) over the next three years.

The loss in wagering turnover has been caused by knee-jerk policy, without proper consideration for the entire wagering landscape.

Following a raft of state-based POCT rises and higher compliance costs, online bookmakers have heavily restricted customers, banned clients considered “non-commercial”, and deliberately reduced their own turnover to avoid higher taxes.

And the loss of $400 million from the state coffers is before any anti-gambling ad bans are implemented.

The NSW Government has suggested a staged reduction, or capping, of the frequency of sports betting and racing ads, but they will not support a complete ban.

Earlier this week, all the state ministers responsible for gambling regulation in states and territories met to discuss the possibility of an advertising ban.

However, the Albanese Federal Government has been tight-lipped on which recommendations, if any, will be implemented, meaning the state representatives are unable to determine their current levels of support for the bans.

In response to these concerns, the social policy and legal affairs committee has recommended a three-year transition towards banning gambling ads and implementing restrictions on inducements and trailing commissions.

One controversial recommendation from the anti-gambling inquiry was to prohibit third party payments from Australian bookmakers to marketing or publishing entities.

Newscorp, the largest betting affiliate in Australia, would be significantly impacted if the bans were to be followed through.

Although Newscorp does enjoy government access, smaller affiliates will be decimated as they do not have access to government decision-makers and are not considered ‘stakeholders’ in the Australian wagering landscape.

Affiliate licensing would fix this important anomaly.

While affiliate revenue from licensed Australian bookmakers would be banned under the planned proposals, it is highly likely that deals would still be made for content placement, tenancy, contributions, and rankings, but that those deals would be less transparent and push them ‘underground’.

Naive punters would be the big losers under this scenario, where affiliate or commercial agreements with bookmakers would become more opaque and the uneducated would find it hard to distinguish news from a paid promotion.

A smarter solution would be for the Australian Federal Government to create a National Gambling Commission that would regulate all online bookmakers and could also license affiliates, ensuring they were adhering to guidelines and that they were fit and proper entities to hold a license.

Sports betting affiliates in Australia also produce mountains of free content that supports and promotes sport and racing.

Under Albanese’s plan, that content would no longer be viable without deals such as media buys between publishers and sports betting sites.

The outcome would further obfuscate commercial arrangements between publishers and betting sites, which again is a poor outcome for the uneducated punter.

Nevertheless Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has acknowledged that the current situation with advertising is unsustainable and some changes will need to be made.

The Albanese government has not yet indicated whether they will pursue a ban or opt for a moderate approach.

Free TV Australia, which represents television broadcasters supports limiting the frequency of gambling ads, but is very aware of the loss of advertising revenue to its members.

More importantly, the anti-gambling ad bans, if implemented as suggested, would decrease the visibility of all three codes of racing to strictly racing-only channels.

That would mean there would be no opportunity to sell media rights to large racing events such as the Melbourne Cup, as no free-to-air channel would be able to broadcast them.

Unlike sports that can be broadcast without odds, racing in any code cannot be broadcast without reference to odds as it becomes meaningless.

Racing would become a thing that can only speak to the already converted who already watch racing-only channels at Sky Racing or

There would be no mainstream print media coverage of horse, harness, and greyhound racing; as none of those print channels would be considered ‘racing-only’.

Further, there would be no avenue for racing promoters to buy coverage (as they used to do) in the mainstream press, as that would be deemed gambling advertising and would be banned.

With zero visibility of racing outside the ‘already converted’, there would be little scope to promote and grow the racing product.

Oddly of all the Australian Principal Racing Authorities (PRA’s) and race clubs, only Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) has spoken out on the important loss of visibility of racing to mainstream Australia should the bans be implemented.

Peter V’Landys and Racing NSW have not made any comment, neither has Racing Victoria.

The silence is deafening.

For that matter Newscorp has not made any comment either, nor run any editorial on the matter.

We’re left to assume that whatever conversations are being had, they are being held behind closed doors, which is never good news for those left out in the cold.

It would seem though that the NSW Government has prompted more discussion on the effects on state budgets should the bans become law, in the wake of the rush for cash which was the POCT hikes.

Unfortunately the Albanese Government has “made a commitment to addressing issues related to gambling harm” and have now bound themselves to do something.

There’s not a single person in Australia that would desire to see more Sportsbet blue placards anywhere, but the anti-gambling ad bans don’t address that problem, and will strike at the heart of the Australian wagering landscape in a way that will have ramifications for decades.

With increasing tax hikes, and higher compliance costs, there will be huge consolidation in the licensed online bookmaker sector in Australia, which will only allow the larger books to prey on the naive and uneducated punters, while being protected under anti-money laundering (AML) laws, Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, and Minimum Bet Limits (MBL’s), from smarter punters who create their own markets.

More gambling news

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x