The Australian media regulator has handed down the maximum penalty to Seven Network for broadcasting a gambling advertisement during a daytime live stream, just weeks after being warned about a similar incident. The breach occurred when a gambling ad was aired at 10:38am on 7plus during a live stream of an NFL American Football game in December 2022, in violation of Australian gambling advertising laws.
Under Australian law, gambling promotions are not permitted to be shown during live streams of sporting events between 5am and 8:30pm, as well as during the five minutes before and after a game. This was not the first offense for Seven, as they were previously warned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for a similar incident. As a result, Seven has paid a penalty of AU$13,320, the maximum amount that ACMA was able to apply.
In response, Seven claimed that the streaming of the ad was an isolated event and has put in place additional measures to prevent future errors, including additional oversight and training. However, ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin emphasized the importance of broadcasters having robust systems and processes in place to ensure compliance with gambling advertising laws.
The incident comes amidst growing concerns about the level of exposure to gambling advertising in Australia. ACMA recently released data showing that over one million gambling adverts were featured on Australian free-to-air television and radio in a 12-month period. Of these, 50% were from licensed online gambling operators, and the total spending on gambling adverts reached AU$238.6m.
Earlier this year, ACMA issued a formal warning to sports streaming service Kayo for breaching gambling advertising rules by showing gambling advertisements during an Australian Football League (AFL) match. These promotions were streamed within a five-minute window of play commencing and during breaks. ACMA has stated that they will continue to closely monitor the compliance of broadcasters, including Seven Network, in order to ensure adherence to gambling advertising regulations.