Australia Wants To Reduce Gambling Ads but TikTok Expands Pilot

Australia Wants To Reduce Gambling Ads but TikTok Expands Pilot

Posted on: May 22, 2023, 07:10h. 

Last updated on: May 22, 2023, 07:10h.

The gaming industry in Australia is undergoing several changes – cashless gaming is on the horizon, credit cards are on their way out in the online segment and stake limits are likely to be reduced. Advertising is also on the chopping block, but not for TikTok.

The Sydney Opera House in Australia at night
The Sydney Opera House in Australia at night. The country continues to push for tighter control on gambling ads, although TikTok gets a free pass. (Image: Unsplash)

In a collision of ideals, it seems as though Australia’s decision-makers are having difficulty making decisions. There’s a federal movement underway that would completely ban gambling ads on TV, extending the current nightly watershed for sportsbooks.

At the same time, TikTok, which just found itself on the receiving end of a ban by state lawmakers in Montana, is expanding a campaign that allows gambling ads. It has already been working with Sportsbet, but is adding two more sports betting operators to the list.

Swept Under The Rug

Independent member of parliament Zoe Daniel believes all gambling ads on TV need to disappear. Currently, sports betting advertisements are banned from 5 AM to 8:30 PM daily, as well as during live games at any time.

That’s not enough, according to Daniel. She asserts that the watershed hasn’t reduced exposure to gambling ads by young people and wants it permanently cut off.

A bill she introduced, according to The Canberra Times, would be almost identical to one that placed a ban on tobacco ads almost 50 years ago. That led to a significant decline in smoking, although it took over three decades for the impact to be felt.

Daniel introduced the bill today, so reactions are limited. However, as The Canberra Times points out, the government is currently conducting a study on gambling ads. As such, the bill won’t likely gain – or lose – traction until after the research concludes.

While that research takes place and Daniel tries to drum up support for her bill, another effort to reduce gambling ads is underway. This one has full traction, as well as a deadline.

New South Wales Turns Off The Lights

As of September 1, pubs, hospitality venues and other non-casino properties in New South Wales that host slot machines have to remove some advertising. Any public-facing signage that alerts passers-by to the presence of gambling will be forbidden.

The ban includes the use of several phrases – “VIP Room,” “VIP Lounge,” “Golden Room” and more. It also prohibits any reference to slot machines, as well as images of coins, certain gambling-related motifs and even dragons.

The move is one of several the incoming government promised to implement in the recent elections. Officials will inform the properties’ owners of the changes this week, putting the countdown timer in motion.

If a property isn’t able to comply by the deadline and can show just cause, the government may grant it a one-time 90-day pass. However, no additional extensions are possible, and properties that break the new rules could pay fines of up to AUD11,000 (US$7,300) for each violation.

Can’t Knock TikTok

The US federal government has been trying to ban TikTok over alleged data privacy concerns to no avail. Elsewhere, the social media platform is flourishing unencumbered.

In Australia, where data site Statista says it has over 8.3 million users, it has been working with Sportsbet in a pilot program to allow gambling ads. That plan is apparently getting new life in stark contrast to the anti-gambling ad stance appearing across the country.

Multiple Oz media outlets have reported that TikTok is now expanding its program to work with Entain-owned Neds and nascent sports and social betting platform Dabble.

The pilot programs are “strictly controlled,” according to TikTok and the operators. A representative for the China-based social media platform asserts that the ads are “targeted at those aged 21 years and over.”

It isn’t clear how TikTok accomplishes this. It doesn’t require age verification during the registration process, making it an impossible challenge.

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