Australia Imposes Tougher Warnings On Online Wagering Ads

November 2, 2022
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Australia’s federal government has released a series of compulsory, more robustly worded responsible gaming warnings to be rotated across online wagering commercials and promotions in print, broadcast and online media.

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Australia’s federal government has released a series of compulsory, more robustly worded responsible gaming warnings to be rotated across online wagering commercials and promotions in print, broadcast and online media.

Social services minister Amanda Rishworth announced on Tuesday (November 1) that the current generic warning “gamble responsibly” will be replaced early in 2023 with a series of rotating messages that will be mandatory in all states and territories.

“What we're doing is using evidence and research that clearly shows that the tagline of ‘gamble responsibly’ doesn't do the job of getting people to think and to minimise harm,” Rishworth told ABC NewsRadio.

“So the new taglines, which were agreed with all states and territories and the Commonwealth [federal government], are evidence-based and they actually have been shown to work.”

In a separate interview with radio station 3AW, Rishworth said "a lot of research was done, behavioural research, to look at what type of taglines would be effective".

“Seven taglines have been identified as particularly effective, that deter those with problem gambling and these will be rolled out over a few months.”

The seven messages are:

  • Chances are you’re about to lose.
  • Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?
  • What’s gambling really costing you?
  • What are you prepared to lose today? Set a deposit limit.
  • Imagine what you could be buying instead.
  • You win some. You lose more.
  • What are you really gambling with?

The changes are part of the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF) reform package, a series of responsible gambling initiatives agreed with state and territory governments, which are responsible for their implementation.

Online operators will be required to rotate all of the messages over 12 months to counter what the government calls “message fatigue”, but it was not immediately clear how much latitude operators have in selecting message order or whether they must be rotated with equal time.

Most online gambling advertising must also retain a link to a dedicated telephone number and website for problem gambling counselling.

Citing Australia’s world-beating per capita gaming spend, Rishworth told the ABC that “we need to take steps now” to address gambling harm rather than wait for the report of a federal parliamentary lower house committee probe into social damage from gambling. Submissions to the committee finish on November 11.

She added that a mechanism producing gambler activity statements on gaming spend is being rolled out, along with an exclusion register, which will be “coming in at the end of November”.

Unlike land-based gambling, whose regulation is state-based, non-casino online wagering in Australia is monitored by a mix of federal, state and territory regulators, with the federal government mostly concerned with policy initiatives and coordination, while regional governments largely implement and enforce state and territory laws and regulations.

Of late, however, global gambling powerhouse Entain has come under scrutiny at a national level, with financial transactions regulator AUSTRAC commencing an “enforcement investigation” into the company in September.

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