Advertising in the sports industry continues to be a major concern for responsible gambling advocates in Australia. They note that more and more gambling ads are being displayed at sporting events and during sports broadcasts, and a new report in The Age shows that there seems to be no signs of slowing down.
During round one, football fans saw more than their fair share of gambling ads on television. According to the report, over 1 in 6 ads promoted gambling and sportbetting services from local bookmakers and casino operators. Of the 200 ads that were shown, 34 promoted gambling. Half of this was contributed by CrownBet, the official wagering partner of the AFL.
Responsible gambling advocates are concerned about the number of gambling ads that are broadcasted during sporting events. They believe that they normalise betting among young people and other vulnerable individuals, making it seems as though they have to gamble in order to be true sports fans.
“There is a very clear ethical tension here that the AFL and broadcasters have not adequately addressed,” says Samantha Thomas, a researcher at Deakin University. “Kids tell us that it is the marketing that they see during sport that makes them think that gambling is a normal part of sport.”
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has also echoed these concerns. It has stated that betting ads are changing the way young people view sports, while Alliance for Gambling Reform has demanded that television networks ban bookmakers from advertising to children.
“This normalises an adult product in the minds of young and impressionable footy fans,” says Geoff Lake, Chairman of the Alliance for Gambling Reform. “If the networks aren’t careful, they could end up killing the golden goose, with parents just turning the TV off.”