Tabcorp calls for tougher restrictions on TV gambling ads

The gambling industry spent AU$271.3m on advertising last year.
The gambling industry spent AU$271.3m on advertising last year.

David Attenborough, Tabcorp chief executive, has said the government should impose restrictions for TV gambling ads during prime-time to protect children and teenagers.

Australia.- David Attenborough, Tabcorp chief executive, has urged the government to impose stricter limitations on gambling ads to protect children and teenagers. He warned that a switch towards online gambling during the pandemic has brought about a need for greater government intervention.

TV gambling ads remain one of the subjects of the most complaints received by regulators. Despite measures to reduce ads during live sport three years ago, the industry spent AU$271.3m on ads last year, up from AU$89.7m in 2011.

David Attenborough said the government should think about a further crackdown, especially around live games. According to WA Today, he suggested further limitations on prime-time TV ads, excluding racing channels, would better protect vulnerable Australians. He suggested Australia should replicate the UK model.

He told a parliamentary committee: “One is that they should look at restricting wagering advertising, particularly around live sporting events, between the hours of 6.30am and 8.30pm, where exposure to children is heightened.”

Gambling ads are not allowed during TV programs classified G or lower from 6am to 8.30am and 4pm to 7pm, or during programmes for children and teenagers between 5am and 8.30pm. Until 2018, those limitations excluded sports broadcasts, but the Turnbull government introduced a restriction during live games between 5am to 8.30pm.

In April, the Alliance for Gambling Reform, a national advocacy organisation that works to prevent harm from gambling, relaunched a campaign calling for an end to sports betting advertising in Australia.

The group highlighted a report carried out by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) that showed that almost one in three participants in a survey of 2,000 opened a new online betting account during the Covid-19 pandemic, and one in 20 started gambling online.

Reverend Tim Costello, chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said: “When you stop and take notice of how many gambling ads you see on television, it’s really disturbing. Sometimes more than half the ads you see in a commercial break are for gambling. That’s not right.”

According to Costello, sports wagering doubled in the five years to 2017/18 and annual losses now exceed AU$1bn (US$765.5m).

Tabcorp plans AI boost for sports wagering offerings

Tabcorp has announced it will roll out an artificial intelligence (AI) programme to predict the results of American Football games. The strategic move is aimed at helping the operator to avoid losing ground to rivals such as Ladbrokes and Sportsbet as players turn to online gambling amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tabcorp’s TAB business has been losing ground to its online rivals over the last few years, and the Covid-19 pandemic hit the company as people turned to online gambling. 

David Beirne, general manager of trading at Tabcorp, said “artificial intelligence will significantly increase the betting markets which sports fans can bet on.”

The AI tool will run more than 1,000 simulations to predict outcomes for American Football Games. Beirne says that for a single NFL game, players will have more than 120 possible outcomes to bet on. The platform be tested on NFL games but could be used for tennis and NBA games in the future.

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