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Australian free TV, radio witness more than a million gambling adverts in a year: Report

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Over one million gambling advertisements were aired on free-to-air television, radio and online platforms in the 12-month period between May 2022 and April 2023, a survey commissioned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) revealed.

An estimated A$238 million were reportedly spent on all the advertisements. However, it should be noted that Nielsen, the data analytics company which conducted the survey, did not take into account the gambling advertisements shown on online subscription-based services and pay TV. Therefore, the actual number is very much likely to be higher than one million.

Majority of the gambling adverts were commissioned by online gambling companies with just five of them responsible for almost half of the recorded advertisements. Notably, ACMA refrained from naming these companies.

The breakdown revealed that an average of 1381 gambling adverts were aired every day on free-to-air television in capital cities. The number dropped in regional markets for the same, coming to a daily average of 928. Meanwhile, a quarter of all gambling adverts on free-to-air TV aired between 7pm to 10pm with the highest concentration between 9pm and 10pm.

“For metro radio, more gambling advertising spots aired during morning and evening commuting times. Between 6am and 8am, 27,200 ads aired, and between 5pm to 6pm there were 16,300,” the Nielsen report said as per The Guardian.

Around 66% of all gambling adverts were broadcast in metro cities due to the higher population numbers.

Moving on to the spending breakdown, free-to-air-television saw the highest spending, reaching A$162 million, followed by social media which accounted for A$34.6 million. On the other hand, metro radio markets saw a spending of A$22.4 million while other online platforms saw A$19.5 million being spent.

This survey comes a few months after the Australian parliamentary committee recommended a ban on all gambling advertisements in the next three years. As per their report, a partial ban on adverts does not work and the country needs a comprehensive ban in a phased manner.

While many were in support of the recommendations, some others like Free TV Australia CEO Bridget Fair argued that the extent of the adverts was greatly exaggerated. She said, “the kneejerk decision would ultimately hurt viewers and the television services they love”.

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