Australia to turn off radio gambling ads during live sports

Business News

Australia will ban gambling advertisements from TV, radio and the Internet during live sporting events broadcast before 8:30 p.m. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

The restrictions are part of an overhaul of the rules governing the country’s broadcasting industry, which will see a cut in annual fees paid by the main TV networks and looser restrictions on media ownership.

Turnbull told reporters in New York that with the exception of horse racing, there will be “no more gambling ads” before 8.30 p.m., closing a long-established exemption granted to the industry.

The decision will be closely scrutinized by the nation’s sports teams and leagues, which have extensive sponsorship deals with the betting industry. The National Rugby League, for example, has a A$60 million ($44 million) deal with Sportsbet. Companies that operate sports betting agencies in Australia include Bet 365 Group, Tabcorp Holdings, Ladbrokes Plc, Crown Resorts Ltd. and William Hill Plc.

Australia is the biggest gambling nation in the world on a per capita basis, spending $761 per head in 2015, ahead of Hong Kong and Finland. The U.S., home to the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, is seventh.