Gambling companies will soon be required to include new warnings on all of their advertisements about the risks of taking a punt, in what the federal government hopes will help compulsive gamblers.
- In Australia, the rate of problem gambling among online gamblers is three times higher than among those who play slot machines
- The ‘gambling responsibly’ slogan that currently appears on ads is to be scrapped and replaced with seven new options
- The new requirements will come seven years from now following 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 – companies that facilitated betting were given a warning.
They have received new rules which will come into effect from April next year, which require advertising to include a gambling disclaimer and information on how to seek help.
These rules will apply to online betting companies, those that offer digital betting via apps or websites, such as Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, bet365 and Neds.
The ‘gambling responsibly’ slogan currently displayed on their adverts will be dropped and replaced with seven new options which Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said were chosen after extensive research.
“We consulted widely and, most importantly, we used evidence to inform these slogans,” she said.
Some of the slogans include:
- “There’s a good chance you’re about to lose”
- “Imagine what you could buy instead”
- “You win some. You lose more”
- “What is gambling really costing you? »
- “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?
Advertisements must also include advice on how to seek help through Gambling Help Online.
Ms Rishworth hopes the changes will reduce problem gambling.
“Online betting is rapidly becoming a growing source of gambling and a growing source of loss for people,” she said.
Wording, Font, and Size Rules
The federal government has provided extensive details on how slogans should be included in television, video, radio, digital, social media, print media and website advertisements.
Although there are seven slogans, only certain lines can be used on each platform.
The companies were also told they had to rotate the slogans over 12 months to try and “ease message fatigue”.
The tagline should be placed at the end of the ad, with details on how to ask for help.
Companies have been told that words for TV and radio should be “read slowly, calmly and at a steady pace”.
Text should also take up the majority of the screen for video and digital advertising, while the guidelines also suggest using Arial font and bold text.
Changes took years to happen
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 reviewing the industry of offshore online gambling.
Its review recommended that there should be a nationally consistent approach to gambling advertising.
He noted that existing guidelines do not cover digital or social media in the same way as traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers.
“It is highly desirable that consistent and enforceable rules for online gambling advertising be included in the national policy framework,” the report states.
According to a report from Central Queensland University, the rate of problem gambling among online gamblers – those who use apps and the internet to place bets – is three times higher than those who play slot machines.
However, the new advertising rules stop short of major changes and ignore ongoing calls for stricter regulations on gambling advertising or banning promotions altogether.