Melbourne-based online sports broadcaster SEN+ has been found to have breached gambling advertising rules during the Australian Open tennis championship earlier this year.

An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that Pacific Star Network (PSN)-owned SEN+ had streamed a gambling promotion during online audio coverage of the Australian Open women’s quarter final on 23 January.

Under the gambling ad rules brought into effect last September, all gambling advertisements are banned on streaming services during live coverage of sport between 5 am and 8:30pm. Rules also prohibit gambling ads five minutes before the scheduled start of an event and five minutes after play ends.

The ACMA’s investigation found that SEN+ had streamed a gambling ad at 10.58am, just before the 11 am coverage of the Australian Open commenced.

“Online service providers need to be aware of their obligations,” said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin. “The rules are in place to create a safe zone for children and families as they enjoy live sport broadcast on television or streamed online.”

PSN said that the breach was the result of an inadvertent error by SEN+ due to an unexpected scheduling delay.

In response, the ACMA has issued a remedial direction to PSN to commission an independent audit of its processes and practices, and to conduct staff training on the rules to ensure future compliance.

Providers face financial penalties if they fail to carry out the requirements of a remedial direction.

PSN has the right to appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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