Tabcorp CEO David Attenborough is among numerous voices in the Australian gambling industry calling for harsher regulations on gambling advertising, particularly during prime time. This was the position he presented during a recent meeting with a parliamentary committee.
“One is that they should look at restricting wagering advertising, particularly around live sporting events between the hours of 06.30 and 08.30, where exposure to children is heightened. We’ve seen this done in the UK. It’s a classic way of trying to reduce the impact on the young.”
He also backed a ‘siren-to-siren’ ban that would prohibit gambling ads or odds promotion during the broadcast of sports matches. These measures echo those employed by the Betting and Gaming Council in the United Kingdom.
The status quo
Current regulations restrict the advertising of betting and gambling products on shows with a G classification or lower. This restriction applies from 06:00 to 08:30 and from 16:00 to 19:00. An additional ban during children’s programming from 05:00 to 08.30 also exists, but sports broadcasts are exempt from these restrictions.
Tabcorp’s stated noble intentions have, however, drawn suspicion and allegations of ulterior motives from some quarters.
Some have accused Tabcorp of being motivated by its incapability to match its competition’s advertising spend. Over the last two years, for example, TAB has spent $64.9 million on gambling advertising, far less than the $99.6 million spent by Ladbrokes and the $112.8 million expended by Sportsbet.
This gap in advertising spend frames an intriguing hypothesis, but there is no evidence in favour of that argument.
A chorus of voices
Tabcorp’s crusade is far from a solo one with other Australian companies lining up to lend their weight to prime-time television advertising bans.
The representative body for online bookmakers, Responsible Wagering Australia, has publicly leaned towards working with the government to develop an evolved framework for iGaming advertising.
Reverend Tim Costello, the chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform stated that a complete ban on TV gambling ads is the most efficient route, but more conservative measures would also help.
Tabcorp is the biggest supplier of Keno, lotteries, gaming and wagering products in Australia. The company boasts a staff complement of over 5 000 employees and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Tabcorp, in its current form, has existed since 2017, when Tabcorp Holdings Limited merged with the Tatts Group. Both businesses were originally founded in the early 1960s with the founding of TAB Qld and the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB).
The company’s flagship product is The Lott, the top Australian lottery that awards billions to fortunate hopefuls every year. The firm holds numerous lottery brands across over 3700 locations. Some of the company’s more well-known brands include Lotto, TattsLotto, Oz Lotto, Powerball, XLotto, and Gold Lott.
Tabcorp is constantly expanding its brand line with offerings like Scratch-Its, a speedier substitute for weekly drawings.