Online Services Lead Ad Spending
Online casino services dominated ad spending, making up a full 64% of the total. These companies advertised heavily on metro TV, radio, and online platforms including social media. Other gambling products promoted included lotteries, lottos, on-site gambling like casinos, and horse racing events.
The massive volume of gambling ads across media formats shows just how much the industry relies on marketing to attract customers. In total, over 1 million gambling ads aired on free-to-air TV and metro radio during the study period. Online gambling providers alone accounted for 256,200 ad spots on metro TV and 196,400 on regional TV.
Growing Concerns Around Gambling Addiction
The report’s release comes as gambling addiction has become a major concern in Australia. Approximately 73% of adults gambled at least once in the 12 months prior to the study, indicating that gambling has become a mainstream activity. However, this widespread participation also means that problem gambling issues affect a large segment of the population.
Additionally, a parliamentary inquiry last year called for a ban on online gambling ads within 3 years, citing the serious harm caused by ubiquitous marketing. The inquiry described the current situation as an “inescapable torrent” of ads that are “grooming children” and conditioning susceptible individuals. Critics argue that constant exposure normalises gambling and drives compulsive behaviours.
Insights into Gambling Marketing Tactics
By providing new data on the massive volume and sources of gambling advertising, the ACMA report sheds light on an industry that is facing increased public scrutiny. The findings paint a picture of online gambling companies aggressively promoting their products across every available platform, often with repetitive ads.
This intensive advertising strategy appears designed to reach the broadest possible audience and maximise exposure. The high spending on regional TV also indicates efforts to attract customers outside major metropolitan areas.
The data will likely inform future regulatory discussions as officials weigh additional restrictions on how and where gambling is promoted. The inquiry’s proposal to ban online gambling ads suggests there is already significant political momentum to enact reforms. However, the gambling industry will likely oppose measures that cut into its marketing outreach and revenue sources.
Balancing Regulation and Responsible Gambling
As Australians continue grappling with the impacts of widespread gambling, the ACMA report provides new insights into the marketing tactics utilised by the sector. The findings will help guide decisions on protecting consumers while allowing legal gambling providers to operate responsibly. Achieving the right balance will require close scrutiny of industry practices and their societal impacts.