Communications Law Centre, UTS. Submission to draft Commercial Radio Code of Practice 9- Promotion of Live Odds in Sports Coverage

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1 Communications Law Centre, UTS Submission to draft Commercial Radio Code of Practice 9- Promotion of Live Odds in Sports Coverage 21/12/2012

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary Introduction The nature of sports wagering CLC supports a total ban on live odds promotion in sports coverage Amendments to draft Code of Practice

3 Communications Law Centre, UTS Executive Summary 1. CLC considers that while wagering used to be periodic, it is evolving due to the promotion of live odds during sports coverage into a casino-like continuous paradigm in which gamblers can bet, at any time, over all mediums and on all aspects of sport. 2. CLC considers that the promotion of live odds during sports coverage normalises wagering. 3. The CLC supports the recommendation of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform which proposes legislation prohibiting live odds promotion during the broadcast of sporting events. This prohibition should extend to pre and post-match commentary and discussion, commentary and discussion in scheduled breaks in play and unscheduled breaks in play and to sports talkback programs. 4. The prohibitions on live odds promotion contained in draft Code of Practice 9 are too narrow. 5. We propose inserting the following sub clause into Commercial Radio Code of Practice 1 as an alternative to draft Code of Practice 9: 1.1 A licensee must not broadcast a program which in all of the circumstances : (c) presents as desirable : (iii) gambling or wagering 6. Programs relating to live horse and dog racing should be expressly exempted from proposed sub clause 1.1 (c) (iii). 7. If draft Code of Practice 9 is adopted: i. A prohibition on the promotion of live odds should apply to all persons during the broadcast of sporting events during play, after play, during Scheduled Breaks in Play and during Unscheduled Breaks in Play. ii. Live odds may only be promoted by way of advertising in scheduled commercial breaks no fewer than 30 minutes before play. These advertisements should not feature commentators or professional sportspersons. iii. Standard forms of responsible gambling messages should be used. These messages should state, in broad terms, the potential monetary losses from wagering. iv. Cl. 9.8, 9.9 and 9.10 should be consistent with other relevant legislation and regulation. 1. Introduction 1.2 The Communications Law Centre, UTS (CLC) is an independent, non-profit, public interest centre specialising in communications, media and online law and policy. We appreciate this opportunity to respond to Commercial Radio Australia s request for comments regarding draft Commercial Radio Industry Code of Practice 9- Promotion of Live Odds in Sports Coverage. 1

4 2. The nature of sports wagering 2.1 Wagering has typically attracted less legislation and regulation than other forms of gambling (such as casino-like games) because of a perceived lower potential for problem gambling behaviour. 1 For example, at present, there are few restrictions on online sports wagering in the Interactive Gambling Act 2001(Cth.) CLC considers that wagering is no longer necessarily periodic, and is evolving into a casino-like continuous paradigm in which gamblers can bet, at any time, over all mediums and on all aspects of sport. As a result, the potential for problem gambling behaviour is significant. Regulation of wagering should be strengthened to counteract the potential for harm. 2.3 CLC considers that the promotion of live odds during sports coverage normalises wagering. Significant long term social harms may result from instilling a culture of wagering, particularly in the case of children. 3. CLC supports a total ban on live odds promotion in sports coverage 3.1 Commercial radio broadcasters have significant reach and influence, and should be subject to legislation and regulation in the public interest The CLC supports the recommendation of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform which proposes legislation prohibiting live odds promotion during the broadcast of sporting events. 4 This prohibition should extend to pre and post- match commentary and discussion, commentary and discussion in scheduled breaks in play and unscheduled breaks in play and to sports talkback programs. 3.3 If a co-regulatory approach is preferred, the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice should be comprehensive and enforceable. We also note that commercial radio broadcasters are subject to the Advertising Standard which requires that advertisements be distinguishable from other program material. 5 1 Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Review of Current and Future Trends in Interactive Gambling Activity and Regulation (June 2009), available at 2 Wagering on sporting events currently enjoys a general exemption under s 8A Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth). The IGA is currently subject to review by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. 3 Commercial radio broadcasters play a central role in providing commentary on news and sporting events. They should be subject to a significant level regulatory control per s 4(1) Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth.). 4 Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform, Second Report, Interactive and online gambling and gambling advertising, Interactive Gambling and Broadcasting Amendment (Online Transactions and Other Measures) Bill 2011, Recommendation 14, para Note, this legislation has not been enacted. 5 Broadcasting Services (Commercial Radio) Advertising Standard

5 3.4 The prohibitions on live odds promotion contained in draft Code of Practice 9 are too narrow. Whilst the CLC recognises that a total prohibition is proposed for commentators who arguably are the most influential, listeners are also influenced by other persons such as guests and advertisers. Listenership of pre and post-match programs and sports talkback programs can match or even exceed listenership during the broadcast of a sporting event CLC considers that a more comprehensive approach is required. We propose inserting the following sub clause into Commercial Radio Code of Practice 1 as an alternative to draft Code of Practice 9: 1.1 A licensee must not broadcast a program which in all of the circumstances : (c) presents as desirable : (iii) gambling or wagering Proposed sub clause 1.1 (c) (iii) should be subject to the exemptions in cl. 1.2 Commercial Radio Code of Practice 1. Proposed sub clause 1.1 (c) (iii) would apply alongside prohibitions relating to the broadcast of programs that present as desirable the misuse of alcohol and the use of narcotics, illegal drugs and tobacco. 3.6 Proposed sub clause 1.1 (c) (iii) Commercial Radio Code of Practice 1 is broad enough to cover the promotion of live odds in sporting events, pre and post-match commentary and discussion and sports talkback programs. 7 For clarification purposes, a note could explicitly state that any mention of or allusion to live odds in a program is considered to present as desirable gambling or wagering. 3.7 Programs relating to live horse and dog racing should be expressly exempted from proposed sub clause 1.1 (c) (iii) Commercial Radio Code of Practice Amendments to draft Code of Practice In the alternative, if draft Code of Practice 9 is adopted, we propose the following general amendments: A prohibition on the promotion of live odds should apply to all persons (including commentators, guests, advertisers and any other persons that feature in the broadcast) during the broadcast of sporting events during play, after play, during Scheduled Breaks in Play and during Unscheduled Breaks in Play. 6 The Continuous Call rugby league talkback program is heard on over 50 stations Australia wide. See 7 The definition of program in the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice extends to all matter broadcast, see p. 4 of Commercial Radio Codes of Practice & Guidelines, September Thus, proposed sub clause 1.1 (c) (iii) would apply to all programs, subject to cl

6 Live odds may only be promoted by way of advertising in scheduled commercial breaks no fewer than 30 minutes before play. 8 These advertisements should not feature commentators or professional sportspersons. Standard forms of responsible gambling messages should be used as per Recommendation 13- Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform. 9 These messages should state, in broad terms, the potential monetary losses from wagering. Cl. 9.8, 9.9 and 9.10 should be consistent with other legislation and regulation, such as clause 12 of the Racing Administration Regulation and clause 13 of the Totalizator Regulation (NSW). 10 Professor Michael Fraser, AM Director Communications Law Centre, UTS William Renton Researcher Communications Law Centre, UTS 8 This allows promotion of live odds outside of pre-game coverage only. For example, pre-game coverage of rugby league on 2GB Sydney and Australian rules football on 3AW Melbourne often commences 30 minutes before match play. 9 Ibid n 4, para As quoted in NSW Government, Submission 56 to Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform, p. 4. The provisions examine the concepts of social responsibility, misleading advertising, decency, exaggerated claims, association with alcohol consumption and association with success or achievement with respect to advertising gambling products in greater detail. 4

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