Sportsbet splashed more than $64m on gambling ads in 18 months

Sportsbet splashed more than m on gambling ads in 18 months
Sportsbet splashed more than m on gambling ads in 18 months

Wagering companies that would be worrying about the impact of that change are Sportsbet, which has spent $64.4 million, and the Entain-owned Ladbrokes and Neds brands, which spent a combined $37.6 million on advertising on television networks between January last year and May.

Outside of social media platforms, television is the most commonly used platform to advertise or promote a brand. The impact of the ban would not only affect the market share of the biggest spenders, but the amount of advertising revenue television networks receive.

Gambling ads are typically used by a wagering company for two reasons: to raise brand awareness or to promote inducements around a particular sporting event or racing carnival.

Up in lights

Nielsen’s data does not account for in-house stadium advertisements or sponsorship on jerseys, which would also be banned under a government recommendation. It also does not count advertising on subscription television provider Foxtel and its streaming service Kayo Sports.

But it paints a picture for just how intertwined sports betting and key racing and sports events are. Most of Sportsbet’s ads run in the AFL and NRL seasons as the wagering company is the official partner for both codes. Data from March to September – when both competitions run – show more than $32 million was spent in that six-month period alone.


Ladbrokes, which has spent $20.2 million in 17 months, skews its spend to the AFL and NRL finals. From September to November 2022, during the spring racing carnival, Sportsbet spent $16.8 million – more than the total amount spent by Tabcorp over an 18-month period.

That is largely due to Tabcorp dramatically scaling back the amount it spends with broadcasters. Tabcorp has spent just $5.5 million on television advertising since October, despite the Melbourne Cup Carnival running in November. That means it spent $10.8 million from January to September.

It was not the only one to reduce spend in that time – all other wagering companies spent millions less during the inquiry period than in the months before.

Tabcorp’s dramatic drop in spend coincides with comments made by the company’s chief executive, Adam Rytenskild, at the inquiry. At the time, Mr Rytenskild said the company would voluntarily stop all advertising on free-to-air television during the day by 2024.

BetR, the News Corp-backed wagering group that began advertising when it launched in October, has so far spent almost $15 million.


The smallest spender is BlueBet, which contributed just $3.3 million to the $155.4 million spent in the period. PointsBet, which recently sold its operations in the United States to Jay Z-backed Fanatics, spent $12.6 million in the same period.

The government is meeting with broadcaster and wagering companies to expedite a process that will crack down on issues associated with the wagering sector.

The sweeping gambling ad ban – worth more than $300 million last year – was one of 31 recommendations made by Ms Murphy’s parliamentary inquiry. Other recommendations include the appointment of a minister dedicated to reducing online gambling harm, the creation of a national regulator and changes to behavioural algorithms in gambling apps.


Former AFL footbller Nathan Brown hosts another Sportsbet ad. 

For their part, television executives and most wagering companies are opposed to a blanket ban, though some concede a reduction is feasible. Tabcorp is unconcerned, but the ban would not include ads for physical shop premises or ads that appear during horse or greyhound racing (Tabcorp currently holds exclusive wagering licences in NSW and Victoria).

Sportsbet chief executive Barni Evans said last month that while his company supported several recommendations made by the inquiry, prohibition on advertising was a step too far.

“We believe an approach that significantly reduces the number of ads rather than complete bans would respond to community concerns, while still supporting sport and media,” Mr Evans said.


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