News: Victoria proposes tighter rein on sports betting advertisements

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Updated: August 29, 2016

Welcome to The Outside Word, where we examine news and issues relating to the wagering industry featured in the mainstream media, along with goings-on in the local and international racing and sports betting world.

 

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Sports betting advertisements could be outlawed on public transport and in areas close to schools in the state of Victoria. The State Government has opened public consultations and is calling for submissions on proposed restrictions on gambling advertising. Marlene Kairouz, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, said that sports betting ads would be banned in areas frequented by children and places that were an unavoidable part of the public’s day-to-day activities.

While the size of the restricted areas has not yet been detailed, Kairouz said that the government’s concern is that the prevalence of ads “normalises” gambling: “What we’re wanting to do is ensure they’re no longer exposed to betting advertisements while they go to and from school each day,” Minister Kairouz said. “This is supported by community concerns about the impact of gambling advertising, in particular because it normalises gambling amongst our most vulnerable.”

“Children have a very high appeal to advertising, which includes things like humour, and we know that there are certain companies that use humour prolifically within their advertising.”

A new study has backed-up the Minister’s comments, finding that the children consider gambling advertisements a normal part of watching sport. Deakin University researchers said children as young as eight are recalling brand names and even promotional offers. The academic paper found that last year, the gambling industry spent AUD $145 million on promotion, making it the fourth biggest spender in Australian advertising.

The survey featured children aged between eight and 16 were familiar with the names of betting operators and terms such as bonus bets and cash back refunds. “Children are very easily able to tell you that if you bet on a certain outcome of a game, if your team kicks the first goal but then go on to lose, that they now expect to get money back on those offers,” said Samantha Thomas, study co-author and associate professor.

“What that does is it suggests to kids that you can’t lose from gambling. Children have a very high appeal to advertising, which includes things like humour, and we know that there are certain companies that use humour prolifically within their advertising. Three brands in particular – Sportsbet, the TAB and Bet365. At the moment, there is a very clear loophole in advertising regulations, which means that ads for gambling products can’t be played within G-rated timeslot unless they’re within sporting matches,” Thomas said.

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