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Seven stands by William Hill advertising deal

Sun, Jan 29, 9:17am by Staff Writer

Channel Seven has defended accusations that advertisements from one of its chief sponsors William Hill were saturating its coverage of the Australian Open.

William Hill is the official wagering partner of the Australian Open and has an exclusive advertising arrangement with the Australian broadcaster.

With the Australian Open taking place in school holidays, critics have claimed that William’s Hill adverts were impacting children’s perceptions of gambling.

But Seven were adamant that it had complied with the current code, which states that the broadcast of odds is restricted to one announcement per session and only in between matches.

“The code recognises community concerns around gambling advertising and strictly limits the amount of gambling advertising during sports broadcasts,” a Seven spokesman told Fairfax Media.

“In the first six days of coverage on 7 Melbourne, we broadcast over 14 hours per day of tennis coverage on our main channel and only four minutes of gambling advertising. ”

William Hill said it had complied with all relevant codes and that its deal with Seven and Tennis Australia was worth over $10 million.

It withdrew from on-court signage this year after controversy last year over the prominence of the William Hill brand.

Fairfax said that in the first week of the tournament there were 114 ad spots for William Hill screened in NSW, 77 in Victoria, 90 in Queensland, 118 in South Australia and 116 Western Australia.

While gambling advertising is banned during G-rated programs, there is an exemption for sports broadcasts.

There are no plans for the federal government to implement its own code over advertising,

Community concern has led to a push for change with several high profile academics pushing the case for change.

“Seventy-five per cent of kids in our research think that gambling is a normal or common part of sport, and tell us that this is because the promotion for gambling is ‘everywhere’,” Associate professor of public health Samantha Thomas told The Age.

“I’m sure the current ads would catch the attention of many children who are sitting down during the school holidays to watch their favourite tennis idols compete.”

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