Free TV denies dealings with Conroy over live sports betting

Stephen Conroy
Stephen Conroy

THE body representing Australia's commercial television industry has denied it struck a deal with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to allow gambling companies to continue promoting odds during sports broadcasts.

Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that Mr Conroy had "personally set out a framework" to aid free TV draft amendments to the television code of practice.

"Today's claim in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age that 'the Minister for Communications brokered a deal with the television industry to allow betting companies to continue spruiking live odds' is incorrect," Free TV's statement read.

"The draft code was developed by Free TV, and reflects the position of its members, not the government."

Free TV said a quote in the Fairfax story attributed to its CEO Julie Flynn was used out of context.

Ms Flynn's quote read: "'Mr Conroy set out the principles."

"The quote ... was made in the context of a detailed discussion of the process involved in developing the code," the statement read.

"The code grew out of a decision by the COAG Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform to 'reduce and control' the promotion of live odds.

"The Minister for Communications and his department developed the principles which the broadcasting codes would need to apply to implement the COAG decision.

"These principles required industry to develop codes to reduce and control live odds promotions in sport and also required that the codes be enforced by the ACMA."

Critics of the draft code being considered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority say the proposed changes would do nothing to stop gambling companies from spruiking odds during sporting coverage.

Free TV has received more than 200 submissions since releasing the draft code for public consultation.

It plans to have the new code enforcing a ban on promoting odds on TV in place by August.

Topics:  australian government gambling sport stephen conroy

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