Online betting companies will be forced to ditch the “gamble responsibly” tagline by March next year, in favour of a new slogan that will make gamblers consider their losses.
Instead, up to seven taglines will be required to accompany gambling advertising across TV, video, digital, radio, print and social media. The new taglines will also be mandatory on out-of-home ads and promotional materials.
The new taglines include: “Chances are you’re about to lose”; “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?” ; “What’s gambling really costing you?” and “What are you prepared to lose today? Set a deposit limit.”
The new phrases were informed by research conducted by Hall and Partners and commissioned by the federal Department of Social Services, which sought the views of 30 regular online gamblers, and agreed to by the Commonwealth, states and territory governments under the National Consumer Protection Framework.
Amanda Rishworth, minister for social services, said that online gambling was “fast becoming an increasing source of gambling and an increasing source of loss for people”.
“The Albanese Labor government is committed to harm minimisation and practical solutions when it comes to addressing problem online wagering. We have consulted widely and, importantly, we have used evidence to inform these taglines,” she said.
Bookmakers were notified of the new taglines this week and told they need to be implemented by March next year. They are also required to rotate the seven taglines equally over a 12-month period to reduce “message failure,” according to a department fact sheet.
Consulting firm Hall and Partners tested 10 taglines before reducing the number to seven. It found “rotating different messages in market reduces the likelihood of [consumers] ‘tuning out’ to the message in a short space of time, as was an often-reported response to the ‘gamble responsibly’ tagline”.
It found of the seven taglines: “Chances are you’re about to lose” showed the broadest promise “with application to a range of formats and media, and potential for its own campaign.”
Tim Costello, chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said the changes were a “step forward”, and the “gamble responsibly” line was a stigmatising phrase that acted to “silence people, shame them, and blame them”.
“It’s a good step forward. It’s not enough when we have 943 sports betting ads on free-to-air TV a day,” Costello said.
“A responsible step from the government would be to actually limit or ban – as Italy and Spain have done – all sports betting ads”.
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