ACMA finds SEN+ in breach over gambling ad during Aus Open

Staff Writer

SEN+ has run foul of the Australian Communications and Media Authority over its coverage of the 2019 Australian Open coverage.

An ACMA investigation found the online sports radio provider streamed a gambling promotion too close to its coverage of the women’s quarter-final, putting it in breach of gambling advertising rules.

Monitoring by ACMA found it streamed a gambling ad at 10.58am, just before the 11am coverage of the Australian Open commenced.

Under the rules, all gambling advertisements are banned on streaming services during live coverage of sport between 5am and 8.30pm.

They’re also prohibited five minutes before the scheduled start of an event and five minutes after the end of play. Those rules were introduced in September 2018.

“Online service providers need to be aware of their obligations,” said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“The rules are in place to create a safe zone for children and families as they enjoy live sport broadcast on television or streamed online.”

The breach was the result of an inadvertent error by SEN+ due to an unexpected scheduling delay, but the ACMA has issued a remedial direction to SEN+ owner Pacific Star Network.

It must commission an independent audit of its processes and practices and must also conduct staff training on the rules. It must also formally report back to ACMA on its findings and recommend improvements.

There are financial penalties if providers fail to carry out requirements of a remedial direction, but PSN has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the ACMA’s decision.

Update: Pacific Star Network had issued to the following statement to Radio Today;

“SEN acknowledges an inadvertent breach of Broadcasting Services (Online Content Service Provider Rules) 2018 on streaming services of SEN+ on 23 January 2019 where an advertisement for one of our wagering clients appeared within 5 minutes before the scheduled start of the Australian Open Women’s Quarter Final.

“We accept the findings and commit to remedial action as directed by ACMA to ensure future compliance.”

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