TikTok Australia expands its gambling ads despite controversial trial

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Some TikTok users in Australia are now presented with increased gambling advertisement as the company has expanded the trial phase for the same despite receiving criticism from people earlier last year.

The company has partnered with Sportsbet and allowed them to promote on their application through ads. At the time, public health experts in Australia criticized and questioned TikTok for shifting away from their anti-gambling stance.

Responding to the criticism, a TikTok spokesperson said that the ads are targeted to an audience of legal age of 21 and above and can be unsubscribed from at users’ will.

“Advertisements are targeted at those aged 21 years and over, there is a frequency cap at which the ads are shown, and there is an opt-out feature for those who do not wish to see the ads,” the spokesperson said, according to The Guardian.

Working with Sportsbet, the company has also included adverts from Dabble and Neds. Neds, as per the report is promoting its mobile application download while Dabble partnered with AFL star Dane Swan to promote their account.

According to Simone McCarthy, a gambling researcher at Deakin University, the gambling companies are advertising to young audiences through various social media and entertainment apps. “The sports betting companies have switched on and are moving to these platforms where governments are not looking,” he told.

McCarthy believes government’s regulations not that effective

McCarthy also believes that the regulations made by the government to show statutory message and slogans are not that effective in case of TikTok as the users can watch the ad for a bit and scroll to other videos before they get to know about the harm they cause.

In a time when the government is trying to keep young people safe from being exposed to gambling and betting, these companies are exploiting different loopholes in the regulations. Just last week the New South Wales (NSW) government revealed that they are planning to limit wording for public ads and signs.