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Online gambling providers are responsible for half of all gambling ads on Australian TV and radio, according to a new study by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The study offers insights into the volume and expenditure of gambling advertising in Australia between May 2022 and April 2023, utilising Nielsen’s Ad Intel data.

Nielsen Ad Intel is an advertising information service that employs spot monitoring methodology to quantify advertising spots on both broadcast and online platforms.

The research found that more than 1 million gambling ads were aired on free-to-air TV and radio, with 50% of these, equating to 502,800 spots, dedicated to promoting online gambling.

Digging deeper into the findings, the ACMA observed that over half a million (504,100) gambling ads were specifically broadcast on metropolitan TV, which refers to television broadcasts in urban areas. 

More than half of these ads, precisely 51%, or 256,200 spots, were ads from online gambling providers.

The prevalence of iGaming providers was even more pronounced on regional free-to-air TV, where 58% of the total gambling ads, amounting to 196,400 spots, were attributed to them.

Gambling advertising spots on free-to-air TV peak in the evenings, with 22% of gambling ads shown on free-to-air TV airing between 7pm and 10pm.

Advertising spending

The study also analyed spending patterns for gambling advertising during the specified period. 

A total of A$238.63m was invested in promoting gambling on free-to-air TV, metro radio, and online platforms, including social media.

Of this total spending, the lion’s share, roughly 68%, was allocated to free-to-air TV markets, with A$133m spent in metropolitan areas and A$29m in regional markets. 

A significant 15% of the budget was directed toward social media advertising, amounting to A$34.6m. 

Additionally, 9% of the funds were allocated to metropolitan radio markets, totalling A$22.4m.

An additional 8% was channeled into other online platforms, such as websites and apps, resulting in an expenditure of A$19.5m.

Providers of online gambling services outspent other categories, accounting for 64% of the total advertising expenditure.

To ban or not to ban?

The topic of gambling advertising has become a subject of intense discussion in Australia, with domestic heavyweight Tabcorp recently opting to voluntarily halt its promotions on free-to-air television from 6.30am to 8.30pm.

Currently, broadcasters in Australia are restricted from showing gambling ads during coverage of live sporting events shown between 5am and 8:30pm. 

In June, Australia’s lower house released a report that recommended a comprehensive ban on all forms of gambling advertising, to be introduced gradually over a period of three years.

The ACMA stated that during a time of heightened interest in the impact of gambling advertising, it considers its latest research “a useful contribution” to the broader debate on any policy or regulatory reform in this area.