Written By Carla Harris
The South Australian Gambling Codes of Practice Notice 2013 recently went into effect, requiring gambling organizations and wagering operators to attach a warning to any commercial advertisements or marketing messages that are accessible to residents of South Australia.
The regulations detailed in the notice extend to all forms of gambling advertising across all publications, broadcasts, and digital media outlets. This broad and general approach affects print ads, radio and television commercials, online marketing campaigns, localized ads within specific venues, and commercial announcements that are delivered via text message.
Similar to cautionary notices that have been imposed within various alcohol and tobacco markets, the new South Australian gambling warnings are intended to inform consumers about potential risks and dangers that are commonly associated with wagering on games of chance.
The specific nature of these warnings depends entirely upon the type of advertisement that it accompanies. For example, any print ad that appears in a newspaper or magazine must include a warning message that is “presented in a font, in a colour and with sufficient contrast such as to make it distinct” and must “occupy at least 10% of the space occupied by the advertising.”
By contrast, all traditional television commercials must include a warning message that occupies “at least 25% of the screen area for at least one-sixth of the length of the advertisement” or “the whole of the screen area for at least one-tenth of the length of the advertisement.”
Major gambling industry organizations and lobbying groups such as the Australian Wagering Council (AWC) are staunchly opposed to the South Australian Gambling Codes of Practice Notice 2013. The AWC maintains that these Codes of Practice fail to adequately balance a concern for public well-being with potential unintended consequences on the gaming industry. The organization also sites the effectiveness of existing safeguards, the excessive burden of additional regulatory costs, and the difficulty of addressing commercial advertisements that cross South Australian state lines.