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Intro

Disclaimer

This guideline is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered, and with the understanding that the Gaming and Wagering Commission is not passing legal opinion or interpretation or other professional advice. The information is provided on the understanding that all persons undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its contents.

Purpose

Under the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987, the Gaming and Wagering Commission (the commission) may take steps to minimise harm to the community caused by gambling. The commission may carry out investigations and inquiries it considers to be necessary or expedient to ensure compliance with the legislation and its policies.

The purpose of this guideline is to clarify the legislative requirements surrounding gambling advertising and the offering of certain benefits, considerations or rewards (for instance ‘inducements’). The attached table provides specific examples of what the commission considers to be both lawful and unlawful advertising.

What is not permitted?

An inducement can be distinguished as something that is extraneous or separate and distinct from the core gambling products and services offered by the gambling operator.

Under regulation 43 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Regulations 1988 (the regulations), it is unlawful to advertise, offer and/or provide an inducement in return for a person opening a betting account, or for referring another person to open an account. The penalty is a fine of $1000.

Gambling advertisements must not include aspects that are not considered to be in the public interest, including inducements to participate in and continue to gamble. This is explained further in the Publishing Advertisements section of the guideline.

Finally, it is an offence to offer and/or provide an inducement in return for a person participating in or continuing to gamble, unless that person is an existing customer.

What is permitted?

Direct communications with existing customers are not considered to be published gambling advertisements for the purposes of the regulations (except in relation to the requirement to contain the details of gambling help services) and so any reference to advertising and inducements in this guideline specifically excludes direct customer communications.

Trade promotion lotteries and dividends are not considered to be inducements for the purposes of the regulations and are therefore permitted to be advertised and provided. These exceptions are explained further below.

Trade Promotion Lotteries

A trade promotion lottery is a lottery that is conducted to promote the purchase of goods/use of services, in which every participant takes part:

  1. without cost to him/her; or
  2. the cost to enter is no more than the cost would be to purchase the goods/service without the opportunity to take part in the lottery.

The trade promotion lottery must be used as a marketing activity to reward/retain existing patrons, rather than encouraging them to gamble more than they usually would.

Dividends

A dividend amount paid out for a winning bet/pre-defined outcome (for example doesn’t win but comes second) is not considered to be an inducement, provided the amount is immediately with drawable and not subject to future turnover requirements or other conditions (unless the condition is defining a maximum stake, refund or credit amount).

Direct customer communications

Inducements that are directly communicated to existing customers, who have agreed to receive such communications, are permitted and are not considered to be published gambling advertisements for the purposes of the regulations (direct communications must still contain the details of gambling help services).

The inducements may only be communicated to the customer by sending them (including by way of email, text etc) directly to the customer or by displaying them on the operator’s website/app once the customer has logged into their account.

The following criteria must also be met:

  • communications must be sent/displayed by the gambling operator (and not by a third-party affiliate);
  • the customer must provide his/her express consent to receive the communications; and
  • the communications must contain clear instructions on how the customer can withdraw their consent to, or otherwise stop, the gambling operator sending communications to them. For electronic communications, the link to unsubscribe must be functional and easily accessible.

Publishing advertisements

The regulations define a gambling advertisement as any advertisement that:

  1. conveys, or is likely to be understood as conveying, the existence in this State or elsewhere of a gambling operator; and
  2. gives publicity to, or otherwise promotes or is intended to promote, participation in gambling.”

Publish is defined in the regulations as:

“to bring to the notice of the public or a section of the public by means of newspaper, television, radio, the internet or any other form of communication.”

Other forms of communication include direct marketing to non-customers, social media, websites, billboards, bus stops, shopping centre promotions etc.

Advertisements displayed on the physical premises of the gambling operator or on the members’ section of an operator’s website (for instance once the customer has logged in) are not considered to be published for the purposes of the regulations.

Gambling advertisements must not:

  • be false, misleading or deceptive;
  • incite a person to commit an offence;
  • contain children gambling or present in a place where gambling is occurring;
  • suggest that every bet placed will be successful;
  • be in breach of the various television, radio and press codes of practice;
  • contain an inducement to contact the gambling operator (unless it is in relation to non-gambling related goods or services that are provided by the gambling operator in the course of their normal business);
  • offer an inducement in return for a person to open a betting account or refer another person to open an account; and
  • offer an inducement in return for a person participating in or continuing to gamble.

Any advertisement containing a ‘disclaimer’ that the inducement is not available to WA residents is prohibited. It is the responsibility of the gambling operator to ensure that prohibited advertisements are not published in WA, including by way of geo-blocking digital advertisements.

The commission will not consider that advertisements have been published, for the purposes of the regulations, if the publication of a prohibited advertisement occurs in WA inadvertently. This means that the publication or communication is intended primarily or substantially for an audience outside of WA, and the gambling operator has taken reasonable steps to prevent the advertisement from being accessed in WA. For example, a social media campaign where geo-blockers are used to prevent WA residents accessing the advertisement, is accessed by a WA resident through use of a virtual private network (VPN) on their computer.

No further communications may be sent to the customer from the time their unsubscribe request is received.

Racing platform advertisements

The commission will not enforce the provisions of regulation 43 in respect of the advertising and provision of certain inducements which are published on platforms that exclusively provide racing content. However, in order to minimise harm to the community caused by gambling, advertisements that aim to entice people to open a betting account will not be permitted.

The following types of offers are not permitted to be advertised in WA on racing platforms:

  • an inducement is offered in return for a person to open a betting account;
  • an inducement is offered in return for a person referring another person to open a betting account; and
  • offers where an existing customer will receive bonus bets in excess of the amount initially bet/deposited by the customer.

The racing platform must predominantly and substantially be dedicated to thoroughbred, harness and/or greyhound racing. This includes websites, television channels, written publications and radio stations.

Such platforms also include:

    • race broadcasts, including pre-race and post-race;
    • fields and forms, scratchings and results;
    • racing calendar;
    • news in relation to racing, including blogs;
    • racing promotional advertising and material;
    • racing-related reviews and commentary;
    • owner, breeder and trainer information;
    • tipping and related racing competitions;
    • bookmaker reviews;
    • bookmakers odds comparisons; and
    • racing statistics.

Publishers

It is an offence to publish a gambling advertisement that is prohibited under regulation 43(2)(a) – 43(2)(g) of the regulations. However, this offence does not apply to a publisher if they have received written approval for the publication of the advertisement from the applicable gambling operator.

Publishers are still responsible for ensuring that the advertisement does not breach the following codes of practice (regardless of whether the gambling operator has ‘approved’ the advertisement):

  1. Australian Press Council’s Statement of Principles (for press media);
  2. Commercial Radio Code of Practice (for commercial radio);
  3. Community Radio Broadcasting Code of Practice (for community radio);
  4. Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (for commercial tv); and
  5. Community Television Code of Practice (for community tv).

Gambling help services

All gambling advertising must contain gambling help counselling service details.

Advertisements that are published in audio (radio) and audio-visual (television, emails, social media etc) must include the:

  1. telephone number of the national problem gambling help line (1800 858 858) or the national on-line problem gambling counselling website; and
  2. a responsible gambling message, such as ‘Gamble Responsibly’.

Advertisements that are published in any other form (newspaper, magazine, posters etc) must include the:

  1. telephone number of the national problem gambling help line (1800 858 858); and
  2. national on-line problem gambling counselling website (www.gamblinghelponline.org.au).

The counselling services and responsible gambling message must be prominently displayed or clearly and audibly stated in the advertisement.

Examples of unlawful gambling advertising

Outside of the general guidance contained in this document, the Gaming and Wagering Commission is unable to advise gambling operators and publishers whether their proposed advertisement in acceptable. It is the responsibility of the gambling operator to obtain independent legal advice on the appropriateness of any proposed advertisement.

Type of advertisement/offerPermitted examplesNot permitted examples

Trade promotion lottery

  • Cost to enter must be free or no more than the normal cost of the product.
  • Place any bet this month and go into the draw to win a prize.
  • Open an account this month and go into the draw to win a prize.
  • Place a bet of (a minimum value) to go into the draw to win a prize.

Dividends

  • Amount must be immediately withdrawable.
  • Cannot be subject to any conditions (except to define the maximum stake, refund or credit amount).
  • Back a runner to win (for a stake up to $100) and if it comes second, get your money back.
  • Back a runner to win and if it comes second, get your money back (up to $100).
  • If your team leads at half-time but loses the match, we’ll credit your account $10.
  • Bet over $50 on x race and get an additional $50 in free bets (not withdrawable).
  • Back a runner to win and if it comes second, get a free bet to use on the next race only.
ReferralsNot permitted
  • Refer a friend and earn $100 credit.
  • Refer a friend and they will earn $100 credit.
Sign Up OffersNot permitted
  • Open an account to get a free bet.
  • Sign up and get $50 credit.
Other
  • Place a bet on x race and receive boosted odds.
  • Special odds offers.
  • Deposit $50 and bet with $100 (not withdrawable).
  • Spend over $50 to get a bonus bet (not withdrawable).

The following table shows (non-exhaustive) examples of advertising that is permitted versus advertising that would not be permitted under the regulations:

 

Page reviewed 25 June 2019