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ACMA issues warning to Kayo over violation of gambling advertising rules

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After determining that the Australian Communications and Media Authority had violated advertising gambling rules, it issued a warning against sports streaming service Kayo.

Kayo (provided by Hubbl) has been accused of showing betting adverts during the designated times for various sports events. ACMA investigated complaints made by viewers.

Only between 5am-8:30 pm, online content providers are allowed to show advertisements for gambling during sports events. These ads are prohibited also five minutes prior to and following an event.

ACMA discovered 16 gambling ads were shown outside of the permitted times for a total 267 sports events.

Hubbl responded that this error was caused by a Kayo iOS application. The six-week event took place between February 2023 and March 2023.

ACMA, in its ruling on this case, gave Hubbl remedial instructions to conduct an audit external of their technical systems and procedures. It also includes any measures it took to avoid similar problems in the future.

Should Hubbl fail to comply, it may face having to pay penalties of up to AU$626,000 (PS328,766/EUR388,572/US$417159) per day. The Australian Federal Court will decide.

ACMA says Kayo “let viewers down”

Carolyn Lidgerwood, ACMA member and authority on the matter, slammed Hubbl & Kayo for their breach. The ACMA authority member said that the size of the mistake and the failure to detect a bug in the system that affected the display of gambling advertisements across many live sporting events were concerning.

Lidgerwood stated that “online streaming services, as well as broadcasters have all a duty to implement robust systems so they can adhere to the longstanding advertising gambling rules.”

The rules exist to limit the exposure of gambling advertisements to viewers. It is especially important for young impressionable audiences, and vulnerable gambling victims.

In this instance Hubbl let down those viewers.

Australian law enforcement takes action against rule-breakers

ACMA is primarily focused on the gambling operators. It requested last week the blocking of three more offshore gambling sites after determining that they operated illegally.

ACMA is investigating A Big Candy Casino, Jackpoty Casino and John Vegas Casino on the basis of a violation to Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Three websites offered online casino games, but without the required licence.

ACMA issued 31 requests for blocking this year against websites it believes are illegally running online gambling.

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