With any sport that is broadcasted, you are bound to see a form of advertisement from a gambling company. Anything from betting the odds to multi’s (a multi is a type of bet that combines many single bets into one wager) or specials (bets not related to the match outcome) are all put on display across all devices and channels that feature sports programming to the point where it can be seen as predatory and authoritarian with promises of easy ways to make money. This has raised many concerns about limiting or even banning advertisements to the same extent as pokies have been restricted in clubs and pubs.
For this article, I have a bit of a disclaimer on my alignment regarding these advertisements that I admit to having participated in sports gambling to a certain extent. On rare occasions, I’ll put maybe $20 into my betting account. But what I can say is that the level of gambling advertisement that I personally receive is excessive.
As a person who consumes a lot of content surrounding sports, whether from creators talking about a game or watching the broadcast of the game itself, the sheer amount of advertised gambling sites is almost like living in a dystopian universe. From one game I randomly chose to analyse, for the duration of the broadcast, there were 58 individual video ads for either Sportsbet, Tab or Bet365. That is not including ads printed on some of the team’s jerseys or around the stadiums on advertisement boards.
The way some of the ads use language to manipulate the viewers into the idea of making money with gambling or that it’s in the Australian DNA to gamble is scary. One ad that showcases this is an ad from BlueBet with a title literally called “Aussies Love a Multi”.
This is a perfect example of how the image of gambling is normalised, and they push the idea that if everyone bets, so should you. It is genuinely horrifying for people who have either been affected or know someone affected by a sports gambling addiction.
In recent years, there have been some changes in how these gambling sites can be advertised. Now, any ad from a gambling site must display an image showing that you will likely lose in the long run of gambling and the ads must provide helplines for people struggling with addiction. However, there are ways that this can be worked around.
With YouTube and broadcast advertisements, you can control how the ads are being presented, but on other sites like TikTok, you can’t; this has major issues for more young people being sucked into gambling as there are no restrictions on the advertisement. Some ads only show people winning, inviting people to join as they present this idea to new potential customers.
This will be an important issue to unfold over the next couple of years and it will be interesting to see if future governments will take reforming legislation on gambling advertisement seriously.
From some of the changes that have been implemented, time will tell if there will be a drop in people being obsessive gamblers, but for me, what has been done will not be enough as, like with any vice like alcohol or drugs, the demand for excessive users will be there. Maybe if it comes to banning the advertisements outright, there might be a way to see sports gambling decline.