Australia is gradually claiming its national exclusivity and economic exoticism by premiering increasingly restrictive laws. The Down Under seems to lead by example, mainly because it benefits from a strategically isolated position on the world map.
Somehow, the world expects Australia to be the odd man out.
Over time, many countries have followed suit in strengthening their national regulatory stance against multinational conglomerates.
- 1997 - Australia bans guns.
- 2012 - Australia bans cigarette branding (burying the Philip Morris logo under the horrendous graphic health warnings of plain packaging).
- 2013 - Australia bans R18+ video games.
- 2015 - Australia bans Johnny Depp's dogs, Boo and Pistol, telling them in local slang to “bugger off”. Or face death!
- 2016 - Australia bans cosmetics tested on animals.
- 2016 - Australia strives to ban refugees.
- March, 2017 - Australia bans online cards, roulette, and in-play betting.
- May, 2017 - Australia restricts gambling ads in sports broadcasts during cricket matches, football matches, and live sporting events before 8.30pm.
Australia's gambling harm reduction measures meet opposition
Come the 2017 sporting season, the odds have turned against gambling operators in Australia. One more time, the ruling Labor government's last restriction on gambling ads has raised a strong outcry from the opposition.
Following recommendations made in the 2015 Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering, the government began closing the loopholes to tighten up federal laws around gambling ads.
As expected, scores of international players across the gambling table and the TV broadcasting industry felt like they were getting a raw deal. Free-to-air television lobby group Free TV, representing a conglomerate of channels such as the Seven Network, Nine, Prime Television, Ten, and the Southern Cross Austereo have branded the proposal as “unnecessary” and “unwarranted”.
TV broadcasters feel like they're being unfairly targeted by the Australian government when other media platforms are surfing on more auspicious air waves and do not experience the same cement-heavy regulation.
The Australian government pushed their stance further by arguing how gambling advertising is normalising addictive behavior and hero worship in children and thus had to stop.
In doing so, however, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced exemptions for advertising that include horse racing and lotteries.
Moreover, in order to help offset lost revenue on the part of the struggling TV broadcasters, it scraped licence fees, calling it a tax of a “bygone era”.
As such, the $130 million per year compensatory package provides a welcomed financial relief for Australian TV operators.
Is this reimbursement provided by the government going to make up for the lost $60 million, five-year deal that NRL made with Sportsbet? Or AFL's $10m-a-year arrangement with CrownBet?
Only time will tell. And if you care to make a wager on the future of the gambling advertising trends in Australia, do it now. Before the bookies are banned for good.