No More Gambling Odds During Live TV Sports in Australia
Under new laws proposed by Free TV Australia, the body which represents all of Australia’s free-to-air television channels, reporting on gambling odds during sporting events will be banned. The amendments that have been put forward for Australia’s Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice would stop commentators and any guests featured on live TV sporting events to not only refrain from the discussion and promotion of gambling odds during matches, but also for an extended 30 minutes before and after each match. This is all being done in an effort to stop children bearing witness to gambling promotion in a country which already suffers from the most cases of gambling addiction in the entire world (H2 Gambling Capital, London).
These amendments being proposed are following in the wake of a controversy regarding bookmaker Tom Waterhouse’s appearances during Nine Network’s live broadcasts of rugby matches earlier this season. The successful 30-year-old bookie was featured on screen during the matches, updating betting odds and giving his opinion on plays as if he were part of the commentary team.
Waterhouse has come out in his defense, stating that he and his organization have “no intention of targeting children through our advertising.” He stated that his affiliation with the broadcasts was as a sponsor, not a commentator, and that there are never any interactions between himself and that actual commentators. Department officials in Australia have indicated that unless it was during a sporting match and Waterhouse was deemed to be either a commentator or the guest of a commentator, there was never any breach of code.