Online wagering companies will be required to ditch the phrase “gamble responsibly” by March next year in favour of new taglines that prompt gamblers to consider the consequences of losing a bet.
A suite of up to seven taglines will instead be required to accompany gambling advertising across TV, video, digital, radio, print and social media, as well as platforms such as outdoor advertising and promotional materials.
Online gambling companies must ditch the “gamble responsibly” tagline when advertising their services by March next year, and instead use up to seven new evidence-backed taglines.Credit:Shutterstock
The new taglines include: “Chances are you’re about to lose”; “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?” ; “What’s gambling really costing you?” and “What are you prepared to lose today? Set a deposit limit”.
Popular online wagering services Bet 365, Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and Pointsbet are among those required to apply the new taglines.
The taglines were informed by research commissioned by the federal Department of Social Services, which sought the views of 30 regular online gamblers, and agreed to by the Commonwealth, states and territory governments under the National Consumer Protection Framework.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said online wagering was “fast becoming an increasing source of gambling and an increasing source of loss for people”.
“The Albanese Labor government is committed to harm minimisation and practical solutions when it comes to addressing problem online wagering. We have consulted widely and, importantly, we have used evidence to inform these taglines,” she said.
Companies were notified of the new taglines this week and advised they need to be implemented by March next year. They are also required to take reasonable steps to give the taglines equal rotation over a 12-month period to mitigate against “message failure”, according to a department fact sheet.
In a research report to the government, consultants Hall and Partners tested 10 taglines before whittling them down to seven. It found “rotating different messages in market reduces the likelihood of [consumers] ‘tuning out’ to the message in a short space of time, as was an often-reported response to the ‘gamble responsibly’ tagline”.
Punters have tuned out the ‘gamble responsibly’ tagline, research found.Credit:Getty
It found of the seven taglines: “Chances are you’re about to lose” showed the broadest promise “with application to a range of formats and media, and potential for its own campaign”.
According to government statistics, Australians have higher gambling losses than any other country on a per capita basis at $1276 per year, while the rate of problem gambling among online gamblers (3.9 per cent) is three times the rate among pokies gamblers (1.4 per cent).
Tim Costello, chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said the changes were a “step forward”, and the “gamble responsibly” line was a stigmatising phrase that acted to “silence people, shame them, and blame them”.
“It’s a good step forward. It’s not enough when we have 943 sports betting ads on free-to-air TV a day,” Costello said.
“A responsible step from the government would be to actually limit or ban – as Italy and Spain have done – all sports betting ads”.
The chief executive of Responsible Wagering Australia, Justin Madden, said the industry lobby group’s members, which include bet365, Betfair and Sportsbet, “remain fully supportive of the change in relation to consistent gambling messaging, as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework”.
“We continue to work through the details as to how this initiative is best implemented with the Commonwealth and state and territory governments.”
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