Ban on TV gambling ads during live sport part of wide ranging media reforms

If you’re watching live sport, gambling commercials are likely a familiar sight.

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But in a move to limit youth exposure to betting culture, they soon won’t air before 8:30pm at night.

It’s move Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says is a huge win for the community.

“Parents around, all around Australia will be delighted when they know that during football matches and cricket matches, live sporting events, before 8:30 there will be no gambling ads. There are no gambling ads allowed before 8.30 generally but there’s been an exception for a long time of live sporting events. “

Former Labor Senator Stephen Conroy now heads the newly formed Responsible Wagering Australia.

He welcomes the move.

“If you ask a kid who’s going to win today you don’t want the odds quoted to you. You want ‘well I think you know Lockett’s going to kick six goals. I think that Bunny will kick five.’ Now that’s the conversation you want to see between parents and their kids around watching footie – not ‘ah, Richmond are 3-1 on to win their match today.”

But not everyone else is on board.

A-F-L and N-R-L executives have been lobbying against the ad restrictions which they say would cost the codes lucrative sponsorship deals.

Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says the sporting codes should wear the cost for the greater good of their fans.

“They recognise there is a need for change and the sporting codes, I think they are responsible and I think that they will accept what we are putting forward.”

To sweeten the deal for broadcasters and compensate for lost advertising revenue, the government is scrapping notoriously high broadcast license fees.

Currently networks pay around $130 million for their broadcast licences.

In its place will be a spectrum fee, estimated to raise around $40 million.

The announcement, made in the same week Network Ten announced a half yearly loss in the hundreds of millions.

Harold Mitchell, chairman of Free TV, which represents free-to-air media, says all major outlets are in support of the reforms package.

“These reforms will put big sums of money into the television industry, it’s long overdue, it’s a real fillip for the industry.”

Another controversial change is lifting limits on media ownership.

Until now, one company couldn’t own a TV, radio and newspaper outlet in one market – something Mr Fifield says limited profitability of Australian media companies.

“It is a package unabashedly in support of Australian media. We want an Australian media that will survive and prosper. While we might not always like what you write, what you print, broadcast or what you stream, what you do is an important underpinning for the diversity and health of Australian democracy.”

Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon, and the Greens say they want to see tougher restrictions.

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale says it is a step in the right direction.

“These changes don’t go anywhere near far enough. What we need when it comes to gambling advertising is no more gambling ads on the telly, restrictions on sponsorships and promotions.”

The Government’s package needs parliamentary support to pass the reforms.

Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek says without much more information and detail behind the announcement, the Government should not bet on theirs.

“When it comes to media reforms and gambling reforms, there is a very good chance that once again, Malcolm Turnbull will deliver less than people expect.”