In Australia, gambling operators that seek to legitimately advertise their products and services are subject to a comprehensive framework of codes, regulations and legislation. These include the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics (AANA), The AANA Wagering Advertising & Marketing Communication Code, federal legislation through the Interactive Gambling Act 2001(Cth) (IGA), legislation and regulations, Codes set by the licensing bodies and/or responsible gambling foundations in each State/Territory and a raft of other codes that apply to the Australian-based wagering industry.
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AANA Code of Ethics
All forms of advertising are covered by the AANA Code of Ethics (the Code) and Ad Standards takes complaints about any gambling advertisement, including online, in an app or on social media. Advertisers should ensure they do not breach any Section of the Code, in particular Section 2.6 which states that Advertising and marketing communications shall not depict material contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety. This is the Section which the Ad Standards Community Panel generally applies when it considers complaints about gambling advertisements.
While the Community Panel cannot look at the placement or frequency of advertisements, it can look at the messages shown in the advertisement. In the past the Community Panel has found that advertisements encouraging excessive gambling, or that may make gambling attractive to children, breach the Code on the grounds that it goes against the prevailing community standards about what constitutes safe or responsible gambling.
AANA Wagering Code
As of 1 July 2016 the Community Panel has considered complaints specifically about wagering advertising under the AANA Wagering Advertising & Marketing Communication Code (the Wagering Code). The object of this Code is to ensure that advertisers and marketers develop and maintain a high sense of social responsibility in advertising and marketing wagering products in Australia.
Broadcast Industry Code
In response to community concern about gambling advertising, particularly during sporting events, amendments were made in 2013 to the various national broadcast industry Codes restricting the promotion of live odds during broadcast of sports events and imposing limitations on discussing live odds during commentary. This includes the FreeTV, Australian Subscription Television and Commercial Radio Australia Codes. Under these Codes gambling advertisements must also be clearly identified as such.
Further restrictions were added in 2018 which apply to the broadcast of gambling advertisements, including betting-odds, during live sporting events on free-to-air TV, commercial radio and online service providers. The new rules supplement existing rules and introduce restrictions that gambling ads cannot be played during live sporting events broadcast between 5am and 8:30pm, and five minutes before and after the event.
In addition, where applicable, legislation that regulates the medium by which the advertisement is capable of being publically viewed, such as the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (BSA), establishes the framework by which Australian television and radio stations are licensed and includes advertising restrictions which apply to these licensees.
Federal, State and Territory legislation and regulations
Responsibility for the regulation and control of gambling is a Federal, State and Territory matter. It is best to contact the licensing body in your State or Territory for information about regulations relating to advertising of gambling products.
Under the IGA, the Federal Parliament established a regulatory framework which makes it an offence to provide certain interactive gambling services to a customer physically present in Australia (other than wagering and lotteries). The IGA includes a complaints process which is administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Complaints about gambling advertising
Complaints in relation to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001(Cth) (IGA) about content hosted in Australia should be referred to the Australian Federal Police. Complaints about interactive gambling content hosted outside Australia are investigated by the ACMA and, if the content concerned is found to be prohibited, the ACMA will notify the content to the makers of internet content filter software.
If you believe that a prohibited gambling service on the internet is offering services to customers in Australia, you can register a complaint with the ACMA. Complaints are to be made in writing and may be lodged using the online complaint form available at the ACMA's website.
If you have a query about State or Territory gambling legislation, regulations or Codes, please contact the relevant State or Territory organisation listed below:
- Australian Capital Territory – ACT Gambling and Racing Commission
- New South Wales – Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing
- Northern Territory – Licensing Commission
- Queensland – Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation
- South Australia – Independent Gambling Authority
- Tasmania – Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission
- Victoria – Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
- Western Australia – Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor
If you believe the content of the advertisement breaches community standards as set out in the AANA Code of Ethics or the AANA Wagering Code you can lodge a complaint online.