The Nine Network is the first broadcaster to be censured under 2015 restrictions on gambling advertising during children’s programming.

Nine ran six gambling ads for CrownBet encouraging online betting on the 2016 AFL grand final during an hour of children’s adventure movie The Spiderwick Chronicles, which is rated PG and was screening on 9GO.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) introduced a new clause to the Commercial TV Industry Code of Practice in 2015 to restrict any commercials relating to betting and gambling from being shown during any program between 5am and 8.30pm if it is principally directed at children. This was the first investigation into a broadcaster for breaching that clause.

Acting ACMA chairman Richard Bean said these ads could not be broadcast in any programs directed to children, regardless of their rating.

“The restriction on gambling advertising was expanded in the 2015 code to address community concern about children’s exposure to betting and gambling advertising,” he said.

Nine told the ACMA it had taken steps to minimise the chance of further similar breaches, and has not had any actual punishment for the ads. — Emily Watkins

Peter Fray

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