Self-Regulation

Wagering Advertising Code

This Code has been adopted by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) as part of advertising and marketing self-regulation. The object of this Code is to ensure that advertisers and marketers develop and maintain a high sense of social responsibility in advertising and marketing wagering products in Australia.

This Code is accompanied by a Practice Note which has been developed by the AANA. The Practice note provides guidance to advertisers and complainants, and must be applied by the Ad Standards Community Panel in making its determinations. In the event of any ambiguity the provisions of the Code prevail.

PRACTICE NOTE

This Practice Note is provided as a guide to interpretation to assist advertisers, their agencies and the community. The interpretations in this Practice Note reflect the AANA’s intent in relation to the Code and may be updated periodically to reflect determinations of the Ad Standards Community Panel and other relevant developments.

This Practice Note must be applied by the Ad Standards Community Panel in making its determinations. In the event of any ambiguity the provisions of the Code prevail. The Practice Note may be amended by the AANA from time to time.

WHO DOES THE CODE APPLY TO?

The Code applies to advertising and marketing communication for wagering products and services provided by licensed operators in Australia.

Wagering Product or Service relates to betting on horse races, harness races, greyhound races, or sporting events including electronic sports (competitive video gaming), as well as betting on a series of races or events. It also includes betting on an event, or a series of events, such as novelty events or other contingencies, for example royal baby names or award winners. In addition it includes betting on fantasy sport teams.

For the purposes of the code, Wagering Product or Service includes odds compilation and tipping services offered or provided by a Licensed Operator as the promotion of these services are often integral to the advertising and marketing communication of wagering services to new and existing customers of the licensed operator.

For the purposes of the Code, the term “wagering activities” refers to the express or implied portrayal of placing a wager (bet) on an uncertain outcome using a Wagering Product or Service. The depiction of “wagering activities” may also include the express or implied portrayal of wagering–related ancillary activities used in combination with, a Wagering Product or Service, such as checking odds or discussing wagering tips in connection with placing a wager or bet.

The Code does not apply to unlicensed offshore operators who advertise in Australia. Complaints about advertising or marketing communication produced by unlicensed offshore operators should be referred to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

WHAT DOES THE CODE APPLY TO?

This Code comes into effect on 1 July 2016 and applies to Advertising and Marketing Communication for Wagering Products or Services published on and from that date.

Refer to the Code of Ethics Practice Note for a detailed description of the application of the Code in relation to:

  • Advertising and Marketing Communication
  • User Generated Content
  • Public Relations Communication

Any competitor complaints should be made under section 1 of the Code of Ethics, not under this Code.

WHAT IS EXCLUDED FROM THE CODE?

The Code does not apply to advertising and marketing communication in relation to gaming, such as casino games or electronic gaming machines, lotto and lottery products and trade promotions. Services ancillary to wagering such as odds compilation or tipping services provided by third parties who are not licensed operators are also excluded. Note that the other AANA Codes still apply to advertising and marketing communication featuring these products and services.

SECTION 1 DEFINITIONS & INTERPRETATION

In this Code, unless the context otherwise requires:

Advertising or Marketing Communication means: a. any material which is published or broadcast using any Medium or any activity which is undertaken by, or on behalf of, an advertiser or marketer,

  •  over which the advertiser or marketer has a reasonable degree of control; and
  • that draws the attention of the public in a manner calculated to promote or oppose directly or indirectly a product, service, person, organisation or line of conduct,

b) but does not include

  • labels or packaging for products;
  • corporate reports including corporate public affairs messages in press releases and other media statements, annual reports, statements on matters of public policy and the like; or
  • in the case of broadcast media, any material which promotes a program or programs to be broadcast on that same channel or station.

Community Panel means the panel appointed by Ad Standards from time to time, the members of which are representative of the community, to administer a public complaints system in relation to Advertising or Marketing Communication.

Licensed Operator means a person or company licensed in a State or Territory of Australia to provide Wagering Products or Services to customers in Australia.

Medium means any medium whatsoever including without limitation cinema, internet, outdoor media, print, radio, television, telecommunications, or other direct-to-consumer media including new and emerging technologies.

Minor means a person under 18 years of age. Wagering Product or Service means a product or service, provided by a Licensed Operator, which offers betting on horse races, harness races, greyhound races, sporting events, novelty events or other contingencies (or a series of races, events or contingencies); but does not include gaming, such as casino games or electronic gaming machines, keno, lotto and lottery products or trade promotions.

For the purposes of this code, Wagering Product or Service includes betting on fantasy sport teams, odds compilation and tipping services offered or provided by a Licensed Operator.

SECTION 2 CODE OF PRACTICE

2.1 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must not, having regard to the theme, visuals and language used, be directed primarily to Minors.
SECTION 2.1 Practice Note

Whether an advertisement or marketing communication is “directed primarily to minors” is an objective test based on a range of factors. It is a combination of visual techniques and age of characters and actors which will mean the marketing communication is directed primarily to minors. The use of any one factor or technique in the absence of others may not necessarily render the marketing communication “directed primarily to minors”.

The application of the term “directed primarily to minors” recognises that particular types of advertising and marketing communication engage and resonate with minors in such a way as to bring about a response or action. This provision does not apply to advertising or marketing communication which is directed primarily to adults; nor does it apply to advertising or marketing communication that may be seen by minors, but is not directed primarily to them.

An advertisement or marketing communication featuring cartoons or licensed characters, such as super heroes and celebrities, that particularly appeal to minors may breach the Code. Licensed operators should take great care when using cartoon-like images. They may be acceptable if they are adult in nature but licensed operators run the risk of breaching the Code if the cartoon images are appealing to minors. The Community Panel will also consider whether advertisers have taken reasonable steps to prevent minors from viewing advertising or marketing communication, for example by age-gating online material, and the likely age of the audience viewing the communication.

More information is available in the Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children Practice Note. Be aware that the Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children relates to “children” (aged 14 and under), whereas this Code relates to “minors” (aged under 18), however the same concepts are used in determining whether material is directed primarily to minors.

2.2 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must not depict a person who is a Minor unless the person is shown in an incidental role in a natural situation and where there is no implication they will engage in wagering activities.
SECTION 2.2 Practice Note

As a general rule, advertising or marketing communication under this Code should not depict a person who is a minor. However the depiction of minors is permissible provided they are shown in an incidental role in a natural situation (for example, in a group of spectators or accompanied by an adult and socialising responsibly in areas which are not restricted to adults).

For example, where a licensed operator sponsors a sporting team which includes a minor, or other event or sport in which minors are engaged, the licensed operator may depict the team, event or sport in advertising or marketing communication without breaching the Code where the minor is shown in an incidental role and there is no implication the minor will engage in wagering activities.

2.3 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must not depict a person aged 18-24 years old engaged in wagering activities.
SECTION 2.3 Practice Note

While wagering is legally restricted to persons 18 years and over, there is a requirement that individuals aged 18-24 appearing in advertising or marketing communications are not depicted engaging in wagering activities. The age restriction is to avoid the possibility that the individual may appear to be under 18 years of age. Individuals aged 18-24 may be featured without breaching the Code where, for example, they are depicted in material in a place where a bet can be placed, for instance, a licensed operator’s website. An individual aged 18-24 may be used to illustrate specific betting selections where that individual is the subject of the bet offered. The depiction must show them in the context of the ability to place a bet and not depict the individual engaging in wagering activity.

2.4 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must not portray, condone or encourage wagering in combination with the consumption of alcohol.
SECTION 2.4 Practice Note

This provision does not prevent associating alcohol with wagering generally; it refers to the combination of the consumption of alcohol and wagering, for example, by depicting a person drinking alcohol while placing a bet. The following examples would not, in and of themselves, breach the Code:

  • advertising or marketing a joint promotion between a licensed operator and an alcoholic beverage brand;
  • advertising or marketing an event where wagering could take place, or a race on which wagers could be made, where there is sponsorship by an alcoholic beverage brand;
  • advertising or marketing depicting the consumption of alcohol at a venue where wagering may take place (eg an advertisement for the Melbourne Cup portraying attendees drinking champagne while watching a race).
2.5 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must not state or imply a promise of winning.
SECTION 2.5 Practice Note

Advertising or marketing communication may depict winning on a wager provided there is no direct or implied suggestion that winning will be a definite outcome of participating in wagering activities.

2.6 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must not portray, condone or encourage participation in wagering activities as a means of relieving a person’s financial or personal difficulties.
SECTION 2.6 Practice Note

Advertising or marketing communication must not depict wagering as a means of relieving a person’s financial or personal difficulties. For example, a suggestion that wagering is a solution to financial concerns or material personal issues (e.g. depression, bereavement) would breach the Code. Advertising and marketing communication should not unduly play on consumers’ fears of financial pressures or present wagering as a viable alternative to employment. References to salary or debts in Wagering Product or Service advertising or marketing communication are likely to breach the Code. References to more trivial difficulties, although personal in nature, would not breach the Code.

2.7 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must not state or imply a link between wagering and sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.
SECTION 2.7 Practice Note

The Code prevents advertising or marketing communication from making direct or implied links between wagering and sexual success or enhanced attractiveness. It is acceptable to portray attractive people in Wagering Product or Service advertising, as long as the material as a whole does not link wagering with sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

Licensed operators should also take care when characters in advertising are treated with admiration as a result of their wagering to avoid creating a link between wagering and enhanced attractiveness. Similarly, references to fame, being special or being a VIP should be treated carefully. For example, portraying the transformation of characters’ appearance after wagering can create an implication that wagering could result in enhanced attractiveness and an improvement in self-image, which may breach the Code.

2.8 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must not portray, condone or encourage excessive participation in wagering activities.
SECTION 2.8 Practice Note

Simply depicting regular wagering, for example as a routine weekend pursuit during a sporting season or other social event, does not equate to portraying excessive participation. The frequency of participation depicted in the advertisement is one factor relevant in assessing whether the advertising or marketing communication portrays, condones or encourages excessive participation. However, the frequency is not the sole or determining factor to be considered.

 

Depictions of:

 

  • participants wagering beyond their means;
  • wagering taking priority in a participant’s life by depicting wagering as being indispensable or causing significant disruption to a participant’s life including family, friends or professional or educational commitments;
  • prolonged wagering suggesting that this improves a participant’s skill in wagering;

 

may portray, condone or encourage excessive participation in wagering, even if there is no explicit depiction or suggestion that the participation in wagering is a regular or frequent occurrence. These factors should be considered in the overall context of the advertisement or marketing communication.

2.9 Advertising or Marketing Communication for a Wagering Product or Service must neither portray, condone or encourage peer pressure to wager nor disparage abstention from wagering activities.
SECTION 2.9 Practice Note

Advertising or marketing communication must not portray, condone or encourage criticism or ridicule for not engaging in wagering activities or disparage abstention from wagering, for example by mocking non-participants.

OTHER GUIDANCE

Advertising and marketing communication for a Wagering Product or Service must also comply with the other AANA Codes to the extent that this Code does not contain a specific provision. In particular, section 2.6 of the AANA Code of Ethics will apply in relation to the non-Wagering Product or Service content of the advertising or marketing communication.

Responsible gambling messages are regulated differently in each State and Territory and it is not the intent of the AANA to replicate those requirements, nor will the Community Panel consider complaints in relation to responsible gambling messages. However, licensed operators should continue to ensure they meet those requirements.

This section does not form part of the Wagering Advertising & Marketing Communication Code and is provided here for information only.

COMPLAINTS UNDER THE AANA SELF REGULATORY SYSTEM

Complaints about the content of an advertisement or marketing communication can be made under this Code and the other AANA Codes to Ad Standards[1].

You can make a complaint by:

Ad Standards

Level 2, 97 Northbourne Avenue

TURNER ACT 2612

Fax: (02) 6262 9833

 

Once Ad Standards has received your complaint, it then assesses the complaint to determine whether it is eligible for consideration by the Ad Standards Community Panel. The Community Panel is the body established to consider complaints. If accepted the advertiser/marketer is notified and a response is requested. The complaint is then considered by the Board and the advertiser and complainant are advised of the determination. A case report is then published.

The original complainant or advertiser/marketer can also ask for a review of the determination.

[1] If your complaint is about a program (not an advertisement) on television or radio, please contact the relevant industry body