Spending by bookmakers on gambling advertising in Australia has been highlighted with Ireland’s Sportsbet topping the charts in terms of spending in the second half of the year ending June 30, 2016.

A report compiled by a leading media buyer has revealed that overall spending on gambling advertisements in Australia increased by 25 percent in the second half of the year compared to the same period the year before.

Irish-owned Sportsbet spent more on gambling advertisements in the country than any other bookmaker with figures showing it spent close to $38 million which represented an almost 20 percent increase in spending year on year.

Sportsbet recently revealed a 35 percent rise in sales and marketing spending which it stated was due to “both to our ongoing substantial investment in media asset and from asset and some significant cost inflation driven by the increasingly competitive environment.”

UK-owned Ladbrokes and Australian Crownbet were the second biggest spenders on gambling advertisements, each spending close to $20 million. Australia’s Tabcorp spent around $18 million and Tatts spent approximately $8 million. William Hill and Bet365 were the only bookmakers to reduce their spending on ads this year, with their spending dropping approximately 21 percent and 39 percent, respectively.

The data is considered a significant underestimation as the figures do not take into account pay-TV where a large number of ads for betting operators are broadcast during sporting events. The figures such as those from Sportsbet, have fuelled a call on the Australian government to ban gambling ads during sporting events aired during hours that children are watching TV.

“Unless something is done to rein these cowboys in, something will be done on behalf of the community. Some of these companies are spending money on ads faster than they are making it,” said an industry insider.