TikTok has for a long time banned sports betting advertisements on its platform. However, it has now done a U-turn and allowed Sportsbet to advertise to users in Australia, as part of a “strictly controlled advertising pilot.” The trial will allow Sportsbet to connect with Australian bettors who are 21 or older.
Sportsbet Applied for the Closed Pilot
TikTok’s partnership with Sportsbet has caught many by surprise, especially as the social media platform states in its advertising policy for Australia that ads from gambling brands, content sponsored by gambling brands, or featuring gambling branding are not allowed. TikTok’s advertising policy also prohibits the promotion of fantasy sports, bingo, and other wagering-related content.
However, the advertising policy then specifically mentions “one managed client” (Sportsbet) for whom an exception has been made for “a closed pilot for sports betting.” The platform’s ads policy states that this particular client had obtained approval from TikTok by applying for the closed pilot.
A TikTok Video Can Reach 7 Million Australians
TikTok said that all Sportsbet advertisements will have to contain the gamble responsibly message. The platform also vowed to closely monitor each ad so that users had a “safe experience.” The social platform also added that it would soon roll out a feature that would allow TikTok users to opt out of the Sportsbet ads.
Sportsbet will be happy to have been permitted to advertise on TikTok, as the social media platform has an unparalleled advertising reach. A Digital 2022 Australia report found that TikTok’s shareable video can reach as many as 7 million Australians over 18.
Most of the Sportsbet-sponsored content on TikTok includes men and women commenting satirically on attending racing events, with some mentioning the Sportsbet app.
Regulation of Social Media Wagering Content
With the inclusion of the “gamble responsibly” messaging and the opt-out feature, it is evident that TikTok and Sportsbet are launching the sponsored content trial careful not to break any laws in Australia.
However, currently, the federal government only regulates advertising on online streaming platforms, TV, and radio. It doesn’t regulate social media. So, Sportsbet’s controlled trial might push Australian authorities to fast-track betting advertising rules for social platforms too.
The signals from the government seem to be indicating that authorities are “very keen” to engage in further gambling regulation. Federal Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth recently said that the House of Representatives Standing Committee started a “broad-ranging inquiry” into sports betting and online wagering advertising.
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