The BBC wrote last year that 200K Australians have a “high-level problem” with gambling, which would amount to just 0.0077% of the population. However, that percentage is high enough to make the country spend an exorbitant amount of time rewriting the rules on gambling advertising.
The Australian government is forcing gaming operators to change the warnings they provide in their advertising messages. Where “gamble responsibly” used to exist, a new series of phrases will appear.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth asserts that the changes are necessary to combat problem gambling. Previous research has determined that the overall “problem gambling” rate in the country is only between 0.5% and 1%.
New Taglines for Aussie Gaming
Going forward, gaming operators will have to employ one of seven taglines in their ads, varying them on a regular basis so they don’t become stale. The catchphrase has to appear at the end of the ad and must include details on where gamblers can find help if they feel overwhelmed.
If the ads appear on TV or radio, the announcer must speak them “slowly and calmly,” according to the government. Only five of the seven taglines are available for use in TV or radio spots.
Other channels, such as social media, websites, and print, can use six of the seven. Advertising through direct marketing or tied to sponsorship and outdoor promotions can use all seven.
The new choices include:
- “Chances are you’re about to lose.”
- “Imagine what you could be buying instead.”
- “You win some. You lose more.”
- “What’s gambling really costing you?”
- “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?”
- “What are you really gambling with?”
- “What are you prepared to lose today? Set a deposit limit.”
The text will need to be the primary focus of the ad – it has to occupy the majority of the screen on video and digital spots. While that serves the government’s goal, it greatly reduces operators’ desire to advertise, which is a secondary blow to the economy.
Rishworth asserts that the current system doesn’t do enough to get people to think about gambling harm, according to ABC News. This is despite the extremely low penetration of problem gambling in the country.
It’s also despite the age of the research that went into producing the results. That apparently took place seven years ago, well before the online gambling explosion.
Rollout to Begin Now
All gambling advertising must carry the new taglines no later than March 30, 2023. However, the government expects operators to begin rolling it out now.
More restrictions are coming to the gaming industry, as well. Rishworth stated that this is just one of “many steps” the country is taking to target online gambling, adding that an exclusion register is coming later this month.
As cited by ABC News, research conducted by Central Queensland University showed that online gambling increased by 100% between 2011 and 2020. The fact that it doubled during that period while the “problem gambling” rate remained around 1% seems to be a strong indication that there is no problem.
That’s not stopping the government, though. The House of Representatives continues to explore online gambling and is taking feedback on other changes people want to make. The window for input closes on November 11.
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