FCA Calls for In-Program Gambling Ads to be Removed from Survivor

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Original media release by and from Financial Counselling Australia (11/03/2024).

Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) has made two formal complaints about the practise of integrated gambling advertisements in a popular family TV series.

The gambling ads came from The Lott (owned by The Lottery Corporation) and promoted a product called ‘Set for Life’. They were aired during Survivor Australia on Network Ten on Sunday 25th February at 7.30pm.

“This is completely inappropriate,” said Lauren Levin, The Director of Policy and Campaigns at FCA. “It was shown at a time when children would be watching. ‘Set for Life’ is exposing children to a gambling product and we know gambling can be very harmful.”

One of the contestants won a challenge and part of her prize was a ‘Set for Life’ package worth $60,000. The logo was displayed a number of times during show segments and the product was also mentioned on numerous occasions throughout the episode.

FCA became aware of the advertising partnership last week and since investigating further has discovered the practise was also used in the show in 2022 and 2023.

“Survivor Australia is a family TV show, watched by children. We believe this breaches the Children’s Advertising Code and the practice must stop,” Ms Levin said.

According to Section 2.1 of the Children’s Advertising Code Advertising to Children must not contravene prevailing community standards, including by promoting products or services unsuitable or hazardous to children or encouraging unsafe practices. Advertising to Children that encourages bullying or promotes unhealthy ideal body image may also breach this rule.

“Placing gambling ads within a family TV program is unsuitable, hazardous and encourages unsafe practices. Gambling causes extreme financial and psychological harm. It shouldn’t be normalized in family TV programming,” Ms Levin said.

“Incorporating the ‘Set for Life’ logo and talking about the gambling product during the show is simply unacceptable and contravenes basic community standards.”

FCA has submitted complaints to Network Ten and Ad Standards, Australia’s advertising regulator.

“We will also bring this to the Federal Government’s attention to encourage it to ensure any future ban on gambling advertising incorporates these types of integrated commercials and all lottery marketing. Only a comprehensive ban will work or the industry will make a mockery of the government’s effort to stop gambling harm.”

Minister Michelle Rowlands will be making a decision in the coming months on whether to afford lottery consumers the same consumer protections that will be given for online gambling.

“The lottery sector is prolific with its marketing. So, the writing is on the wall, that Australians, including minors will be bombarded with a lot more lottery advertising if operators aren’t included under upcoming Federal gambling reforms.”

“We urge the Minister to give all Australians the same protections, regardless of where they are spending their gambling dollars.”

Financial counsellors see the harm caused by gambling products including lottery products.

Financial Counsellors are qualified professionals who provide information, advice and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. Their services are non-judgmental, free, independent and confidential.

People who are experiencing gambling harm can seek help at the National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007 and National Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858.

For comment contact Maura Angle on 0418 334 121 or email maura.angle@financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au.