An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation has found that Seven breached online content rules by showing gambling advertising outside the specified times.
The gambling advertisement was shown at 10:38 am on 7plus during a live stream of an NFL American Football game on 12 December 2022. This breach follows the ACMA giving a formal warning to Seven in October 2022 for a similar incident.
Current ACMA rules and guidelines state that gambling promotions cannot be shown during live streams of sporting events between 5:00 am and 8:30 pm, including the five minutes before and after a game.
Seven has paid a penalty of $13,320, the maximum amount the ACMA can apply in this circumstance.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that the Australian public is extremely concerned about the level of exposure to gambling advertising in live sporting coverage.
“The ACMA expects broadcasters to have robust systems and processes and associated assurance mechanisms in place to support compliance with these laws,” she said.
Regarding the breach, a spokesperson from Seven said that the network had implemented additional mitigation measures to avoid future errors, including additional oversight and training.
“This relates to an isolated instance of human error and was only streamed to a very small number of end users. Seven strictly adheres to all regulations,” a Seven spokesperson said.
“Seven has told us that the measures it has in place are adequate to ensure future compliance and it does not need to do more. Following repeated breaches by Seven, we will continue to closely monitor their compliance with the rules to make sure that is the case,” O’Loughlin said.
The results of the ACMA investigation come as a parliamentary inquiry has recommended that advertisements for online gambling should be banned across all media, at any time within three years.
The recommendation has been made to combat the manipulation of an “impressionable and vulnerable audience.”
While it is unclear if the government will adopt the recommendations to their full extent, severe pushback is expected from commercial broadcasters, who have stated to the inquiry that free-to-air sports broadcasts would be cut as a result of the ban.