Australia’s New Gambling Warnings Will Do More Than Just Tell You to Gamble (Responsibly)

gambling ads australia gamble responsibly

If you’ve ever had the misfortune to watch terrestrial TV in Australia — or consume any video content, read a magazine, or just go outside, for that matter — the following scenario will no double be familiar to you.

“How great is gambling?? Take out your life savings, pawn your daughter’s iPhone, raid your super, it’s time to do some motherf**king gambling!! 100% pure exhilaration with no downsides!”

… gamble responsibly.

That tiny message at the end of those long froth-fests over the thrill of wagering your grocery bill is required to be there by law. Despite government assurances that they would enforce “strict” rules around gambling advertising, there have long been warnings about just how exposed we are as a nation to the content and the damaging effect it’s having.

Now, the Albanese government is putting in place new mandatory advertising taglines to go along with the ads that do more than just tell you to gamble, albeit “responsibly.”

On the same day that Aussies wagered millions on the Melbourne Cup, gambling companies were served with new documents outlining how they would now have to speak to their customers.

Each 15-second gambling ad will have to be accompanied by one of the following phrases:

  • “Chances are you’re about to lose”
  • “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?”
  • “What’s gambling really costing you?”
  • “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?”

Those that run for more than 15 seconds will also have to be accompanied by a call to action pointing viewers toward a gambling support service.

The plan has been agreed upon by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments under the National Consumer Protection Framework in what they have said is the first nationally consistent set of messaging around problem gambling.

These new taglines are designed to run across online services, radio broadcasts, TV, print, and social media. They have been worked out after extensive research found that “gamble responsibly” was not working. The Federal Department of Social Services spoke with more than 6,000 people to figure out the best messaging to place around gambling ads.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth has said that the government is concerned about online betting as it is “fast becoming an increasing source of gambling and an increasing source of loss for people”.

“The Albanese Labor government is committed to harm minimisation and practical solutions when it comes to addressing problem online wagering. We have consulted widely and, importantly, we have used evidence to inform these taglines,” she said.

With one of the highest rates of problem gambling in the world, which has doubled in the past decade, we’re inundated with gambling ads featuring major international celebrities hawking new ways to lose money.

A recent Nielsen Insitute report found that gambling ads have increased by 253% since 2016 in Victoria alone, with the gambling industry spending $287.2 million across the country last year. That’s up $15.9 million on 2020.

Earlier this year, The Age warned that a third of AFL fans were concerned about gambling advertising, with another story in 2021 revealing that advertising spending was growing by roughly 10% each year.

“There are insidious parallels between the efforts of cigarette companies to circumvent advertising regulation and the techniques used by bookmakers today,” they wrote.

The new messages will have to be implemented by March of next year.

RelatedThe Invisible Issue of Melbourne Cup Day

Related: The Controversial Future Is Here: Facial Recognition Tech Is Now Scanning Problem Gamblers

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