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Kayo Caught Out for Breaching Gambling Ad Regulations

Australian streaming service Kayo, owned by Foxtel, has copped a warning from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for violating gambling advertising laws during live sports events. ACMA regulations clearly state that broadcasting such ads is a no-go between 5 am and 8:30 pm. But Kayo threw caution to the wind during the May 2022 Fremantle V Collingwood AFL match, flouting the rules.

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ACMA Research Sheds Light

Research conducted by the Australian Gambling Research Centre reveals that over 50% of Aussies reckon there should be a total ban on sports betting ads before 10:30 pm. This ban would cover radio, TV, live streams, and on-demand services alike.

The internet has turned our world upside down. We’ve seen all sorts of businesses and services shift their operations into something virtual, transforming our lives and adding a new level of convenience.

The shift from brick and mortar casinos to online gambling websites is a prime example, increasing the accessibility and convenience for anyone of the appropriate age to play casino games through their smartphone or computer.

This innovation has also led to a growth in the responsible gambling services sector amongst Aussie players as well as around the world, as gambling rates continue to skyrocket amidst the digital boom.

Kayo in Hot Water over Gambling Ads

Kayo has been slapped with an official warning from ACMA for airing gambling ads during a live sports event, specifically the Fremantle V Collingwood AFL match in May 2022. The streaming service broke the rules by showing gambling ads during scheduled breaks and within five minutes of play.

Similarly, online casinos can punish rule-breaking players—fair dinkum!

Australian Gambling Ads under the Microscope

Recent legislation and public outcry have put gambling ads in Australia under the spotlight. Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild reckons it’s gone too far. Meanwhile, research by the Australian Gambling Research Centre shows that more than half of Aussies support a ban on all platforms before 10:30 pm (radio, TV, live stream, and on-demand).

Aussies are concerned that gambling ads could foster a damaging culture among kids, particularly on streaming services, which must follow similar regulations as traditional TV broadcasters. ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin acknowledges this requirement and emphasises that streaming services must toe the line just like TV broadcasters.

O’Loughlin points out that many Aussies are troubled by gambling ads during live sporting events, fearing that kids might see it as part of the game.

Kayo Pins Blame on ‘System Failure’

A Foxtel Group spokesperson has blamed a ‘system failure’ for Kayo’s breach of gambling ad rules. A small number of viewers who joined the stream at a certain time were not identified as watching the match live and were therefore incorrectly served gambling promotional content.

Kayo has worked with ACMA, conducting live production testing and improving advertising processes and software. Any future system changes affecting compliance with the rules will require senior management’s approval.

ACMA’s Warning to All Streaming Services

ACMA has issued a heads-up to streaming services to abide by gambling advertising regulations, much like traditional TV broadcasters. These rules apply not only to live sports events but also five minutes before and after each event. Streaming services must ensure that gambling ads don’t pop up during these five-minute windows and that kids aren’t exposed to such ads.

Concerns about gambling advertising in Australia are on the rise, with more people worried about its impact on children, teens, and vulnerable adults. ACMA is cracking down on companies like Kayo that flout the rules to gain better oversight.

Gambling advertising isn’t just an Aussie issue—countries worldwide are grappling with it due to the rapid growth of online gambling and sports betting, leading to a surge in advertising. Governments and regulators across the globe are working together to find solutions, with many considering restrictions on gambling advertising on TV and online.