Australian TV licence fee cut to offset gambling ad revenue loss

The Australian government is to consider if a proposed cut in the licence fee paid by television networks could be used to offset gambling advertising restrictions.

According to The Australian newspaper, crossbencher and gambling industry opponent Nick Xenophon will meet with the government next week to set out the proposal, under which networks could save more than Aus$100 million (€67.6 million/US$76.3 million) a year.

The move comes after a separate proposal was put forward to impose a new set of restrictions on gambling advertising, which is said to be worth as much as Aus$120 million a year to networks, with Aus$100 million going to free-to-air stations.

“I don’t think the networks should be out of pocket,” Xenophon told the newspaper.

“They shouldn’t be bearing the brunt of this when it’s the government that has allowed it to proliferate.

“The whole idea of the restriction is that kids wouldn’t be exposed to gambling advertising.

“Why should that exemption apply to sporting programmes when we know it is a family activity? When eight and 10-year olds know more about the betting odds of a game than the game itself then you know this is huge problem.

“We should look at this in much the same way tobacco advertising was dealt with a generation ago.”

In response, a spokesperson for Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said: “The government is aware of Senator Xenophon’s concerns and will work constructively with him and all of the crossbench members in the 45th parliament.”

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