Free TV Australia is commencing a public consultation in relation to new draft provisions of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (the Code). The new provisions would impose restrictions on gambling advertising during live sports coverage.

The restrictions would prohibit all gambling commercials from airing five minutes prior to the scheduled start of play until five minutes after the conclusion of play if play is scheduled prior to 8.30 pm. This includes a prohibition on gambling or betting commercials during both scheduled and unscheduled breaks.

Separate rules apply to long form sporting events (such as the Australian Open Tennis and the Olympic Games). For example commercials relating to betting or gambling during the Olympic and Commonwealth Games are permitted, provided that is not more than once every three hours and is not in relation to a game, match or race that has already commenced.

The draft provisions were developed following an announcement earlier this year by the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, which stated that the Government would consider increasing restrictions on the promotion of gambling during live sports events across all media platforms. In addition to the restrictions on commercial television, restrictions will also apply to radio, subscription television and radio, and online platforms which are aimed at Australian audiences.

The draft provisions of the Code must be approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority before they can come into effect. The draft provisions of the Code are currently proposed to take effect in March 2018.

Public submissions on the draft provisions closed on 15 December 2017.

The Free TV Australia media release is available here