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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a formal warning to sports streaming platform Kayo for breaching gambling ad rules.

The regulator said that Kayo contravened the rules by showing gambling advertisements during an AFL match between Fremantle and Collingwood in May 2022.

According to Australia’s broadcasting regulations, gambling ads cannot be streamed during live sport events between 5am and 8.30pm, including the five minutes before and after the event.

The ACMA investigation found that two Sportsbet adverts were streamed on the Kayo service within five minutes before play commenced and during scheduled breaks.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin: “Gambling advertising during live sport is a major concern for Australians. Families want to watch live sport without needing to worry that children may come to think of gambling as a part of the game.”

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said audiences expect streaming platforms to show live sports in accordance with the rules.

“Streaming services need to comply with the rules in the same way traditional television broadcasters do,” she said.

“Gambling advertising during live sport is a major concern for Australians. Families want to watch live sport without needing to worry that children may come to think of gambling as a part of the game.”

The streaming platform admitted to the breach but said the gambling adverts were shown due to a system error.

However, according to the authority, Kayo took several measures to improve its systems and processes for scheduling advertising during the investigation.

The streaming service implemented live production testing, technical enhancements, and will have senior management review and approve future system changes that may affect its compliance with the rules.

Gambling advertising is currently a highly debated issue in Australia.

Recently, domestic giant Tabcorp made the voluntary decision to cease advertising on free-to-air television between 6.30am and 8.30pm.

Fresh IP blocking orders

The communications watchdog has also issued IP blocking orders against four illegal offshore gambling websites.

An ACMA investigation found them to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act.

The latest sites blocked are Firefox Casino, Shazam Casino, Rich Prize and Heaps O Wins.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against offshore online gambling.

In total, 723 illegal gambling and affiliate websites are currently blocked.

The ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019.

More than 200 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017.