Gambling companies will soon be forced to include new warnings on all their advertisements about the risks of taking a punt, in what the federal government hopes will help problem gamblers.
- In Australia, the rate of problem gambling among online gamblers is three times higher than those who play the pokies
- The “gamble responsibly” tagline currently appearing on advertisements is to be ditched and replaced with seven new options
- These new requirements will come in seven years after a three-month review conducted in 2015 by former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell
As millions of Australians watched the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday — the country’s biggest one-day gambling event — the companies that facilitated bets were put on notice.
They were sent new rules that will come into effect from April next year, which require advertising to include a caution about gambling and information about how to seek help.
These rules will apply to online wagering companies, ones that offer digital betting through apps or websites, such as Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, bet365 and Neds.
The “gamble responsibly” tagline currently displayed on their advertisements will be ditched and replaced with seven new options that Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth says have been chosen after extensive research.
“We have consulted widely and, importantly, we have used evidence to inform these taglines,” she said.
Among the taglines are:
- “Chances are you’re about to lose”
- “Imagine what you could be buying instead”
- “You win some. You lose more”
- “What’s gambling really costing you?”
- “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?
The advertisements must also include advice on how to seek support through Gambling Help Online.
Ms Rishworth is hopeful that the changes will reduce problem gambling.
“Online wagering is fast becoming an increasing source of gambling and an increasing source of loss for people,” she said.
Rules around words, font and size
The federal government has provided extensive details about how the taglines must be included in advertisements across TV, video, radio, digital, social media, print and websites.
While there are seven taglines, only certain lines can be used across each platform.
Companies have also been told they need to rotate through the taglines over 12 months to try to “mitigate message fatigue”.
The tagline must be placed at the end of the advertisement, along with details about how to seek support.
Companies have been told that the words for TV and radio must be “read slowly, calmly and with an even pace”.
The text must also take up the majority of the screen for video and digital advertising, while the guidelines also suggest using Arial font and text to be in bold.
Changes have been years in the making
The new rules follow a three-month review seven years ago, in 2015, by former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell, who was tasked with looking at the offshore online gambling industry.
His review recommended that there should be a nationally consistent approach to gambling advertising.
It noted that existing guidelines did not cover digital nor social media in the same way as traditional outlets such as TV, radio and newspapers.
“It is strongly desirable that consistent, enforceable rules for advertising of online gambling be included in the national policy framework,” the report said.
The rate of problem gambling among online gamblers — those who use apps and the internet to place bets — is three times that of those who play the pokies, according to a report by Central Queensland University.
However, the advertising new rules stop short of major changes, and ignore the ongoing calls for tighter regulation of gambling advertising or banning promotions altogether.