TikTok has expanded its trial of wagering ads, adding online gambling firms Neds and Dabble to its existing relationship with Sportsbet.
Neds is encouraging users to download its Android and iOS apps while Dabble is creating content with former AFL player Dane Swan to help boost its profile.
Sportsbet’s ads on the platform saw humorous sketches and gonzo-style content from its range of presenters at big sporting events.
Swan, who has an established social media presence, is leading Dabble’s content which, like Sportsbet, relies on humour to entice users to download the app and gamble on sporting fixtures.
“Advertisements are targeted at those aged 21 years and over, there is a frequency cap at which the ads are shown, and there is an opt-out feature for those who do not wish to see the ads,” a TikTok spokesperson said.
“We are also continuing to monitor the ads to ensure that all users have a safe experience.”
Gambling ads are becoming a hot-button issue. In addition to an ongoing public inquiry into gambling harms, including through advertising, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said last week that ads were “annoying” while Liberal leader Peter Dutton called for a total ban on sports betting ads during broadcasts and for an hour on each side of sporting fixtures.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform has asked for regulatory oversight of TikTok’s trial, despite the video-sharing app saying that it is tightly controlled. The industry body said that it was worried the trial would “open the floodgates” of gambling to a demographic of users that had not previously been exposed to the ads.
“The sponsored posts have been gender-targeted with young women being told they can now place bets on superficial things like BeReal times, Love Island and White Lotus season three,” an alliance spokesperson told The Guardian.
TikTok had previously refused gambling ads but allowed Sportsbet to start spruiking its services in November. The video-sharing app said that it would be a “strictly controlled advertising pilot” and that the ads would be closely monitored to ensure a “safe experience” along with “gamble-responsibly messaging.