Wagering advertising has a two year deadline

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 29 August 2023
Rory Heffernan and Rohan Sawyer on stage at AdNews L!VE.

Wagering brands are pulling back from sports sponsorship and switching to content streams, as Australia cracks down on wagering advertising.

Despite betting advertising being a huge growth category over the last decade, the reality is legislation restrictions will come into effect within the next two years Rohan Sawyer, Bastion Experience QLD Managing Director, predicted on stage at AdNews’ Brisbane L!VE.

However, Sawyer believes it would be difficult for the government to stop wagering advertising completely. 

“The industry is a large employer and wagering does generate significant revenues for the government which has a flow on effect to their investment in community sports,” Sawyer said.

“There's a lot more work [for the government] to figure out how to phase this out. For example, there’d be contracts, particularly towards sponsorship, that go for the next three to five years - how does the compensation work with that?”

So while the shift is definitely on, this doesn't mean the wagering partners can’t be a partner of sport - “they just have to find new ways to partner with those brands and be less overt in their branding,” Sawyer said.

“Whether that's building communities or building content through sporting organisations. We just won't see ads popping up every five minutes throughout broadcast with odds integration, and we probably won't see any kit branding.”

Rory Heffernan and Rohan Sawyer on stage at AdNews L!VE.

Similarly, Atomic 212 which holds sports betting and gambling company Entain Group’s media account, isn’t concerned about the changes to legislation Rory Heffernan, national managing director at the agency, said.

“From a media perspective, it's a turbocharged version of the same challenge we face across other clients in terms of the hard to reach audiences like young males,” Heffernan said.

“So for gambling advertisers, given the industry headwinds, how do you make those educated bets on how to reach and influence your target audience?

“As in most industries, contextual relevance has a significant impact on how effective the advertising is. So racing and wagering products are going to become more influential as a content and community approach to reaching that target audience.”

According to Sawyer, wagering companies have already started this switch to investing into content streams.

“To engage with their audiences, typically younger males, wagering companies we speak to are starting to invest heavily into content streams and pulling out of traditional sport sponsorships and branding - which no doubt will be stopped in the next couple of years,” Sawyer said.

“The best part about that is they’ll be able to look at ways to redirect that money spent on sports sponsorship and they can start to look at different ways to engage the customer.”

Another pain point is that agencies are being challenged from within by their own staff who don’t want to work on gambling accounts, however Heffernan says this isn’t an issue for Atomic 212 due to staff transparency.

“If you’re coming into Atomic, you're gonna get a sense of which verticals and clients you are going to work on,” Heffernan said.

“If people take objection to a particular client - which doesn't have to be wagering, it could be a tech client, energy client, bank client or whatever it is - as long as we continue to be transparent about how our people are going to work we won't run into that issue.”

AdNews would like to thank supporting partners Foxtel Media, RyvalMedia, Quantcast, News Corp Australia, associate partner MIQ and co-curators Brisbane Advertising Association and Brisbane Advertising and Design Club. 

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

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