Thursday April 18, 2013 : BIG MONEY IN AUSSIE SPORTS BET ADVERTISING
 
Around A$90 million spent on marketing in 2012
 
Australian sports betting companies represented by trade association the Australian Wagering Council spent around A$90 million last year on marketing to the Australian public, the Council has disclosed.
 
Commenting on the numbers, the Sydney Morning Herald notes that this considerable investment in marketing does not include what is believed to be a substantial additional amount spent by major betting companies like Tabcorp and Tatts on marketing and advertising for their respective online betting shops.
 
Marketing expenses constitute a substantial portion of the total revenues generated every year, the newspaper notes, opining that this is an indication of the intense rivalry between operators.
 
According to the Council, the bulk of marketing costs are devoted to sponsoring Australia's major sporting codes, triggering a fresh parliamentary inquiry into gambling and sport sponsorship, which will report to MPs next month.
 
Australian Wagering Council members include James Packer's betting exchange joint venture, Betfair, Sportsbet and Betchoice.
 
But most of the marketing spend is understood to be generated by bookie Tom Waterhouse and Sportingbet/Centrebet which, in 2011, said it would spend A$30 million on marketing, most of it targeted at the NRL and AFL, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
 
The Council took offence at comparisons with the health-damaging tobacco industry in addressing the parliamentary enquiry, with chief exec Chris Downy describing such comparisons as ‘grossly misleading'.
 
"There is no safe level of tobacco use," Downy averred. "By contrast, the overwhelming majority of the 2 million Australians who bet on racing and sport online do so safely. What's more, it is a legitimate form of entertainment for them."
 
Downy also claimed that his members have played a positive role in deterring Aussie gamblers from using unregulated offshore betting websites, thus supporting the integrity of Australian sports. The executive produced industry numbers illustrating an overall decline in the percentage of wagering turnover estimated to be offshore from 37.7 percent in 2003 to 13.8 percent in 2011.
 
"Having this turnover onshore not only provides significant benefits to consumers in terms of customer protection and harm minimisation measures, but is also critical to maintaining the integrity of racing and sports in Australia due to the integrity agreements which licensed Australian wagering operators have with the racing and sporting bodies," Downy said.