Tabcorp’s CEO, Adam Rytenskild, has told the ongoing inquiry into online gambling that there are too many gambling ads and it was “not good” for Australians or the gambling industry.
Speaking to the Standing Committee on Social and Legal Policy, which has been holding an inquiry into the industry since last September, Rytenskild said, “The proliferation of gambling advertising, we believe, has gone too far. This is not good for the broader Australian community, and it’s not good for the long-term sustainability of the wagering industry. Regulation of the industry is rightly an increasing focus for the government and for the community.”
He also added that Tabcorp would voluntarily stop all advertising on free-to-air TV between 6:30 am and 8:30 pm and would support a blanket ban unless during dedicated racing programming.
Last month, research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that 69 per cent of people thought that gambling ads were too common and 53 per cent said that they normalised gambling for children. Bans on broadcast gambling ads were supported by 53 per cent and opposed by 19 per cent. On social media, 47 per cent supported a ban and 42 per cent supported bans on sponsorship of sports coverage.
In its submission to the committee, Free TV said that “The current comprehensive framework for gambling advertising on television is appropriate and proportionate. No further restrictions should be placed on commercial broadcasters. Any further restrictions would have significant revenue implications for Australian TV networks and their ability to invest in sports; news and current affairs; and Australian content.”
However, Rytsenskild also noted that “Over the last five plus years, the sector has been disrupted by mostly foreign-owned online bookmakers who operate nationally, but are only licensed with low tax and light regulation in the Northern Territory.”
Tabcorp is headquartered in Melbourne, VIC, and has been threatened by foreign-owned bookmakers in recent months. Sportsbet, for example, announced last year that it had achieved a 50 per cent market share of the sports betting market in Australia, despite being owned by UK-based company Flutter Entertainment.
Meanwhile, AFL boss Gillon McLachlan admitted last month that there were too many gambling ads associated with the sport and indicated that it will tighten restrictions.
“I don’t have a problem that other people do around wagering, I just think the volume is too much. It’s in your face,” McLachlan told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“We have a set of restrictions and they are being reviewed at the moment. Probably they will be wound tighter, but we don’t believe in prohibition because all it does is drive it underground or offshore and that has its own set of problems.”
McLachlan and NRL boss Andrew Abdo also spoke to the committee today.
The AFL has an $8 million annual deal with Sportsbet while the NRL has $12 million deal. Cricket Australia holding a $3.5 million deal with Bet365.