TikTok expands trial of gambling ads in Australia

TikTok has expanded its trial of gambling ads in Australia.
TikTok has expanded its trial of gambling ads in Australia.

The move has been condemned by public health experts and gambling reform groups.

Australia.- TikTok has expanded its trial of wagering partnerships in Australia, leading to criticism over the increased exposure of sports gambling ads to users. Some argue the decision could undermine any federal efforts to restrict promotions and allow the targeting of new demographics.

Last year, Sportsbet came under fire for advertising on TikTok. Marketing experts accused it of using the trial to target young women, aiming to diversify its predominantly male client base. Now Neds and Dabble have joined the trial. Dabble is showing ads with AFL star Dane Swan. Neds is promoting its gambling app on TikTok by urging users to download it. 

TikTok claims that the advertisements are targeted at users aged 21 years and over, with frequency caps and an opt-out feature available for those who do not wish to see the ads. However, concerns remain regarding the effectiveness of these measures and the potential impact on vulnerable demographics.

Simone McCarthy, a research fellow at Deakin University specialising in gambling, emphasised the value of TikTok for gambling companies in reaching new, younger audiences. McCarthy suggested that while traditional sports coverage has been a focus for assessing the impact of gambling ads, social media platforms are where young people spend their time, providing a way for companies to reach them unnoticed by regulatory scrutiny.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has also expressed concerns about regulatory oversight of the trial, despite TikTok’s assurances of strict controls. They worry that this trial could “open the floodgates” for a demographic of Australians who have not previously been exposed to gambling advertisements.

See also: New call for ban on gambling ads during televised sports in Australia

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