Tabcorp Wants Blanket Ban on TV Gambling Advertising

First Tabcorp said it does not oppose a ban on credit card gambling, now it states it supports a ban on gambing television advertising.

Australian gambling giant Tabcorp has put the cat amongst the pigeons by calling for a blanket ban on TV gambling advertising. Tabcorp believes government intervention is needed to protect Australia’s youngest citizens.

A shift towards online betting during the COVID-19 pandemic has Tabcorp executives worried. Television viewing hours are up across the board with Australians spending more time indoors. More viewing hours means seeing more gambling advertising for young children and vulnerable Australians.

Strict gambling advertising restrictions are already in place across Australia. Betting advertising is restricted between 06:30 and 08:30 and from 16:00 to 19:00 during all programs in class G or below. Furthermore, gambling commercials are not allowed between 05:00 and 20:30 during programs targeting children.

The gambling industry managed to spend $271.3 million on advertising last year despite the current restrictions. It collectively spent only $89.7 million ten years ago.

Tabcorp CEO David Attenborough wants a complete ban on TV gambling advertising. Attenborough wants the government to consider more options for restricting adverts.

“One is that they should look at restricting wagering advertising, particularly around sporting events, between the hours of 06:30 and 20:30, where exposure to children is heightened. We’ve seen this done in the United Kingdom. It’s a classic way of trying to reduce the impact on the young.”

Tabcorp Rivals Spend More on TV Advertising

The fact Tabcorp spends less on advertising than its main rivals could be behind Attenborough’s comments. Industry analysts show Tabcorp spent $64.9 million over the past two years. Sportsbet/BetEasy spent $112.8 million and Ladbrokes/Neds spent $99.6 million. His comments could be a case of sour grapes.

Tabcorp is not the only entity championing stricter restrictions on gambling advertising. The Reverend Tim Costello, chief advocate of Alliance for Gambling Reform, heads a campaign to ban gambling advertising. Costello wants gambling to follow in the footsteps of tobacco adverts.

“The same principles apply to gambling advertising. We would be shocked to see a tobacco ad during football and cricket these days because we know children watch these games and naturally want to emulate their heroes and support their sponsors. We must nip this in the bud right now, and th quickest and easiest way to do so is to end gambling advertising.”

Tabcorp Supports a Credit Card Ban

This latest call for a ban comes only two months after Tabcorp announced it does not oppose a credit card ban. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Aussies gamble. Increasing numbers use online services instead of so-called traditional methods. Tabcorp wants more stringent measures to protect Australians from gambling harm.

The government is considering banning gambling transactions using credit cards. Digital “e-wallets” including Skrill and Neteller are also under threat. Bank transfers and debit card transactions will still be permitted.

A study by the Australian Banking Authority (ABA) in late December 2020 revealed most Australians think like Tabcorp and support a credit card ban. The ABA issued the Every Customer Counts survey to 813 people from all walks of life. It quizzed them about their gambling habits and their thoughts on using credit cards to gamble.

Surprisingly, 81 per cent of respondents support a complete blanket ban or at least strict restrictions. Those in the group that never gambled are most supportive of a ban, with 61 per cent in favour. Even 41 per cent of regular gamblers are in favour of banning credit cards for gambling.

However, using credit cards for gambling is not as prevalent as one thinks. A mere 4 per cent stated credit cards are their preferred banking method when gambling. A staggering 82 per cent claim to have never used a credit card to fund any form of gambling.