Sydney Opera House in Hot Water Over Gambling Ads
There has been a public outcry from Australian citizens following an advertisement that was displayed on the side of the Sydney Opera House.
The advert promoted one of the country’s biggest horse races, the Everest. Complaints have flooded in due to the gambling component associated with the race and therefore the advertisement.
Advertising Law in Australia
The advertising of gambling has been a hot topic in 2018, and Australia is no different. Like several other countries, they have started to implement advertising bans to protect children, at-risk people, and to curb the increase in abuse. These measures include banning of advertising during live sports events and ‘child safe’ television and radio hours, where ads are forbidden in their entirety.
The Sydney Opera house is an iconic landmark situated at the entrance to the city’s harbour. It attracts thousands of visitors a year; international and national tourists interested in seeing the building, and regional citizens attending events.
The famous ‘sails’ of the roof are often used to display ads of upcoming events or business offers, which are projected onto its side. The public has however drawn the line at gambling-based advertising, stating that it not only ruins the building's appeal, but also encourages wagering as a form of entertainment condoned by the city.
Australian is in the top two gambling countries in the world, topped only by Britain. It has become a serious issue with the average annual loss per person $1000. There are fears that the constant onslaught of advertisements is normalizing gambling, and worse, creating associations in vulnerable persons that sports as an example are synonymous with wagering activities.
Many stakeholders believe that by limiting exposure to marketing campaigns the sector will experience a significant decline in participants.
Why Not A Complete Advertising Ban?
Amidst the advert’s negative reception, certain parties have asked why advertising of this nature is not completely banned. Lawmakers have responded that the revenue from advertising forms a large percentage of media houses’ turnover. In addition, companies have a right to advertise a lawful service to their target market within the constraints of advertising regulations.
Although the management of the Opera House may display and accept advertising contracts from whomever they choose, it will be interesting to see how they manage to do so and follow advertising regulations. Will they only advertise at certain times or will they buckle under public pressure and turn casino and sportbook companies away?