Posts Tagged ‘gambling addiction’

Australia has the highest rates of problem gambling in world, and the normalising of it through advertising and imbedded dialogue during live sport is going to affect generations to come.  Is it possible anymore to watch a game of AFL without a refence to the odds and the sportsbet favourite, from the commentators to the ads to the cuts to Sportsbet?

 

Online, interactive sports gambling addiction takes heavy toll on young men, says Tim Costello

While poker machines have been a perennial concern for problem gambling among older Australians, there is a slick and deceptive juggernaut quickly taking hold of young men — sports gambling.

According to Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesperson Tim Costello, the nature of watching live sport as a young man in Australia has changed dramatically.

Men are no longer taking an interest in just whether their team wins, they are financially invested in games they might have never watched because they have a wager on the outcome.

“Sports betting is the fastest growing level of addiction,” Mr Costello said.

“Pokies target middle-aged women who are invited to go to a club, dress up and someone opens the door for you and you sit there and devastate your life.

“Sports betting targets young men and that’s a rapidly growing area of addiction.”

Mr Costello’s thoughts have been echoed by an Australian Gambling Research Centre report into interactive gambling, which states that sports and race wagering are the dominant forms of interactive gambling in Australia, and interactive gamblers are more likely to be young men.

It is one of the key issues that will be discussed today at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus for The Spectrum of Gambling Harms Seminar.

Governments to blame for sports betting rise: Costello

Mr Costello said Australia had the highest rates of problem gambling in world, as well as being home to 20 per cent of the world’s poker machines.

He rejected the concept that betting was part of the Australian character, and has levelled the blame for the prevalence of gambling in Australia at state governments.

“The immoral failure of state governments to protect the vulnerable and instead allow more pokies is one of the big reasons [for problem gambling in Australia],” he said.

“Incessant sports betting and the lax rules that allow kids to be targeted with what are gambling products when the footy and cricket are on — that’s another one of the reasons.”

But Clubs NSW spokesperson Anthony Ball said the majority of people who played poker machines did it safely and within their budget.

”There’s a small fraction of the population that doesn’t and we’ve been committed to looking for ways to help people who do have a problem to help themselves,” he said.

“Australians are punters and it’s part of our history and culture and there’s no doubt pokies are a popular form of recreation for the working-class man.”

He said problem gambling rates in NSW had been falling and were below one per cent of the adult population.

“Clubs for a decade have been heavily invested in providing education for their staff and becoming better at identifying problematic behaviour.

“There is an abundance of information and people to talk to, and we want them to understand how poker machines work and allow people to exclude themselves using a web-based interface — every club with gambling does that and they care about their members.”

How interactive gambling can take hold

While a poker-machine player has the gatekeeper of a club employee, when it comes to interactive gambling it is done in private and on phones and home computers.

A problem gambler can place bets quietly and repeatedly without anyone seeing them to identify that there is something wrong.

ABC RN contributor Leigh shared his story of gambling addiction that eventually saw him convicted for fraud after stealing $130,000 from his employer to fuel his addiction.

“The bets would range anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000 a day. I would bet until 3:00am, try to sleep for three hours and bet again for another three hours on online racing in the United States,” he said.

“I always thought the stereotypical gambling addict was a working-class, middle-aged man or woman, sitting at their local club, feeding their favourite pokies machine four or five nights a week, but I rarely ventured into the local TAB.”

Mr Costello said each problem gambler in Australia will lose about $1,100 dollars per year, which is the highest in the world.

Singapore is next highest for losses ($800), then Ireland ($600).

“Having done this for 20 years, you start to think ‘maybe it’s time to give up’, but the encouraging thing is that we now are seeing such disgust from the public at sports betting,” Mr Costello said.

“We’re going to get a ban on sports betting ads before 8:30 at night, and that’s pressure the Federal Government has been brought under, so that’s a win.”

 

By Justin Huntsdale

Posted 6 Sep 2017

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-06/sports-gambling-taking-hold-of-young-men/8877420

Advertisements

The amount of gambling advertising our kids are being exposed to on a daily basis would make it seem like gambling is now just a normal part of sport.

By making it seem normal, we don’t consider the risks in the same way we have in the past. And young people don’t always realise the difference between ads and reality, seeing betting as a quick, easy way to make money.

Gambling is seen as a normal part of sport, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are a number of myths surrounding gambling. Let’s debunk a few of them.

Myth 1

Sports betting ads don’t encourage kids to want to gamble as they’re not targeted to them.

Research found nearly a quarter of adolescents said they are more likely to gamble on other forms of gambling after seeing sports betting advertisements1

Myth 2

Adults are more exposed to gambling than kids.

Research found that exposure to gambling advertising was higher for 13 to 17 year olds than adults2

Myth 3

Betting on sports isn’t as risky as other forms of gambling because it involves skill.

Knowing a lot about a certain game of sport doesn’t guarantee a win. The best goal scorer doesn’t always kick the most goals, the favourite in a horse race doesn’t always win. It doesn’t matter how much you know, or your perceived “skill” level, because there’s no such thing as a sure bet.

Exert from: http://www.lovethegame.vic.gov.au/

With the 2017 AFL season nearly upon us, the sports betting agencies are gearing up for another onslaught of advertising across TV, Pay TV, radio, newspapers and the internet.  It really depresses me that our local game is now in bed with the betting agencies, so closely linked that the AFL relies on the money, while at the same time warning the AFL players of the dangers of gambling.  It was pleasing that some of the players have made comments about this irony recently, and with many AFL players now family men, they are also acutely aware of the responsibility they have to raise their own children in a gambling free environment – which is difficult to avoid when their kids are watching daddy on TV and there is a sports betting ad or odds update during every commercial break after a goal has been kicked.

GAMBLING advertising during AFL games is “out of control” according to Western Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood.

Wood took to Twitter during the telecast of Friday night’s AFLW game between the Bulldogs and Adelaide to raise his concerns and asked fans whether they agreed.

Wood’s tweet was retweeted more than 1000 times and had more than 2700 likes. Most of the replies were strong in their support, however some queried whether he would be prepared to play for less money if the gaming industry pulled its financial support for the game.

In a note attached to the tweet, he said the Bulldogs this week had their annual education session with the AFL, which he described as “both informative and well run.”

But he questioned why there was so much gambling advertising if gambling was such a big issue that it required an annual information session from the League.

“Why – as an industry – do we support the onslaught of gambling advertising you’re now faced with when watching an AFL game?” he wrote in the tweet.

“The obvious issue here is the effect this advertising has on children every time we pull on our boots. The big question is do we think the normalization of gambling – particularly to kids – is acceptable in this day and age?”

Friday night’s match was broadcast live on Fox Footy in Victoria, but the gambling industry advertises across all forms of live sport. The industry standard is that 10 per cent of advertising during live sport broadcasts can promote sports betting.

c4sz-bfuoaaoflh

Easton Wood

RESOLVING the issues surrounding gambling in the AFL won’t be easy but the conversation needs to happen, Geelong veteran Harry Taylor says.

Taylor said it was a concern to him that the eldest of his three children was able to name the gambling-related advertisements he saw when watching sport on TV.

However he said further education and discussion were critical if answers were to be found on the appropriate relationship between gambling and professional sport.

“When my eldest can name a lot of the ads on TV, that is a bit of a worry,” Taylor said.

“It’s certainly something that we need to keep talking about [and] educating people about. It’s not as simple as just cutting them out of the AFL.”

Western Bulldogs premiership skipper Easton Wood put the issue back on the agenda at the weekend when he questioned the level of gambling advertising during televised AFL games.

Wood wrote on social media: “Do we think the normalisation of gambling – particularly to kids – is acceptable in this day and age?”

Taylor said more education was needed for AFL players and society in general.

$814 million was lost on sportsbetting in 2014-15, which equates to $2 230 137 being lost by punters on sports EVERY DAY in Australia.

So if you think you can beat the system then well done and good luck for the future, as the hard evidence clearly shows that a lot of money is being lost by people betting on sports.  With the odds structures always favouring the sports betting agencies, they are taking their cut whether you win or lose, and then with the fickle nature of sports results, picking a winner is still no easier.

The only recommendation I can make to those who enjoy a punt on sports is to bet smart, look for value and ‘good bets’ and seek help if you are losing more than you are winning beyond the budget you have set for yourself.

Beaner

 

Punters lose $23 Billion

Richard Willingham and Benjamin Preiss
Published: August 22, 2016 – 8:02PM

Australian punters lost nearly $23 billion last year, with a 30 per cent growth in sports betting helping to drive a continued rise in annual gambling losses.

New Australian Gambling Statistics figures show Australians lost $1241 per head in 2014-15, with poker machines still the biggest cause of punter losses with $11.6 billion lost, an increase of 4.9 per cent.

The continued growth of punter losses reignited calls for state and federal governments to get serious about tackling problem gambling through action on sports betting advertising and pokies.

The annual compilation of all state and territory data shows that total expenditure, or gambler losses, hit $22.7 billion in 2014-15, an increase of 7.7 per cent on the previous financial year.

There has been an explosion in sports betting, with the sector growing by 30.1 per cent in 12 months – with predictions the exponential growth will continue.

But sports betting is still one of the smallest segments of the market, worth $814 million, compared to pokies, racing ($2.8 billion), and Lotto ($1.7 billion).

Traditional betting on racing was the smallest growing sector at just 2.7 per cent.

The Victorian government on Sunday announced a ban on betting ads near schools and on public transport, while Canberra is moving to crack down on offshore bookies, as well as strengthen consumer protection for local online punters.

There are also renewed calls from Senator Nick Xenophon, the Greens and Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie for poker machine reform.

Gambling losses in total for Victoria hit almost $5.8 billion in the 2014-15, with poker machine losses surpassing $2.5 billion, propping up Treasury coffers by more than $1 billion.

In NSW, punter losses hit $8.9 billion, with $5.7 billion lost on the pokies alone, sports betting worth $162 million and racing $945 million.

Across the nation casinos raked in $5.1 billion of gambler losses, with Melbourne’s Crown Casino hauling in $1.8 billion.

Monash University Public Health expert Charles Livingstone said the growth in sports betting losses was “phenomenal”.

“It demonstrates why we need to better regulate promotion and advertising. Otherwise we’re facing big growth in gambling problems and harm from young men and women,” Dr Livingstone said.

“But the 600-pound gorilla of Australian gambling is still the pokies: $12 billion in losses per year, and still growing, year after year. If we’re worried by sports betting, we should be 13 times more worried about the pokies.”

Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello said state governments could fix the “poker machine madness”

“[That is] if any of them really cared about the issue,” he said.

The Australian Gambling Statistics 2014-15 shows that in Victoria total per person gambling losses hit $1250. Pokies losses was the biggest segment with $558 lost per Victorian.

In NSW, per person losses were higher at $1517.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said the rate of problem gambling in the online sector was three times that of other areas.

“Many Australians love to gamble but we have to make sure the gambling environment is a safe one – that’s why we are cracking down on illegal offshore gambling providers and introducing much strong consumer protection for online gambling,” Mr Tudge said.

Deakin University associate professor of public health, Samantha Thomas, suspected sports betting had grown on the back of heavy marketing.

“While not all losses equal harm, a lot of them do. It’s time for governments to start to seriously consider the factors that are contributing to these growing losses and implement effective evidenced-based strategies to reduce harm,” she said.

“This includes addressing the factors from industry, such as prolific advertising or high intensity poker machines, that may be contributing to harm. Clearly, ‘gamble responsibly’ strategies are not having an impact on reducing losses or preventing harm.”

Victorian Gaming Regulation Minister Marlene Kairouz said the state government shared the community’s concerns about problem gambling. She said the government had invested $150 million over four years to support problem gambling services.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/australian-punters-lose-23-billion-half-on-the-pokies-20160822-gqyiz5.html

From the Age, July 15 2016

by Greg Baum

When Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie announced their mission to loosen the nexus between gambling and sport in Australia on Thursday, it was not hard to imagine that in the offices of some corporate bookies, the first thing they did was to frame a market on the likelihood of the politicians’ success, complete with cash-back options and bonus bets.

The next thing would have been to commission an advertising campaign featuring a bar and a couple of dorky young men frothing at their mouths while stroking their unshaven chins – quite dextrous, really – and two young women in the background, bestowing on them a patronising roll of their eyes.

“This is the gift horse everyone makes sure keeps its mouth shut.” Illustration: Jim Pavlidis.

It used to be said that Australians would bet on two flies crawling up a wall. It was an innocent enough image, implying friendly competition between mates at the manageable level of whatever they had in their pockets at the time, even if it did gloss over the certainty that one of them would always pick the wrong fly, yet refuse to give up, convince himself that the next fly on the other wall was a dead-set cert and be wrong again, with consequences no one much talked about then.

Now the cliche would be that Australians would bet on any two of thousands of contingencies arising out of happenings – not always sport – anywhere in the world, offered to them by a corporate bookie and outlaid and – sometimes – redeemed at the push of a smartphone button, no longer limited to loose change and ready cash, nor even by state or international borders, not restricted at all. Merry-making mates and the girls who so generously indulge them don’t come into it, no matter what the ads say.

The punt has become institutionalised, a miserable process. Australians used to be sceptical about institutions. Now we wear their T-shirts.

I can’t remember an election campaign like the most recent in the way the bookies’ markets were reported and dwelled upon about as prominently as the polls. The usual justification was that polls were not reliable, but the bookies rarely got it wrong. But they did this time.

Where does that leave us? Here, that the gambling industry has infiltrated every part of Australian life and become a massive force in it. Expect at the next election to hear Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – if it is still him – declare not that he is confident of victory, but that he sees himself as a $1.05 chance.

We’ll confine ourselves here to sport. There, it is a matter of following the money. If you bet on sport, some part of your wager goes to a television network in the form of advertising revenue, then on to a sporting body as vast rights fees. If you play the pokies at a club venue, the profits go directly to the club and form a major and growing part of their incomes (but not at North Melbourne). Downstream, this leads to social dysfunction estimated by some to be as endemic as the legacy of alcohol abuse.

But this is the gift horse everyone makes sure keeps its mouth shut.

Sports bodies make vague noises about social commitment and their dedication to developing other forms of income, all the while collecting more and more of this guaranteed jackpot. Just this week, it emerged that Collingwood had promised renovations to a pokies pub it owns in Ringwood, but only if it was allowed to install 10 more machines. Bookies are no better: they preach responsible gambling, but pay fast-moving lip service to it in almost comical disclaimers at the end of ads, small print in smaller voices.

The least but most obvious effect of all this calculated conditioning is to the amenity of the sports fan. Whether on television or at the ground, the bookies and their spiel are in your face: in ads, on an expert panel, on the scoreboard, in the call. Briefly, even the industry realised that they were giving people the irrits, and pulled their heads in, but only a little. This is where Xenophon and Wilkie would like to start, by reducing or even banning gambling advertising during sports broadcasts and at venues.

They know the power of the medium, for good and evil. That power was central to successful crusades on smoking and the road toll.

Just this week, it was announced that the AIDS epidemic in Australia was over. That fight began with a spectacularly memorable public education campaign more than 20 years ago. If messaging makes this sort of impact, then so must its absence. The Australian Wagering Council knows this. Its defence of the status quo is that betting advertising can be a force for good, directing punters to Australian providers rather than those nasty off-shore outfits.

Political will is negligible. In the election campaign, gambling reform was a non-issue, not mentioned by Labor or the Coalition and rarely even by the Greens, who have the most stringent policy.

The many schisms in the new Parliament offer hope for Xenophon and Wilkie, but only if one of the major parties warms to their objective, which seems unlikely. Otherwise, they might as well try fence in the industry with fly swats. They won’t surrender, but the bookies would say that you can have $10 the pollies, with the margin set at 80 points of order.

http://www.theage.com.au/sport/gambling-reform-dont-bet-on-it-20160715-gq6rxh.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-22/social-media-games-potential-gateway-to-problem-gambling/7346018

By Norman Hermant

People who play simulated gambling games for free online are more likely to become problem gamblers in real life, according to a report from the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC).

Report’s key findings:

  • Children are more exposed to gambling than ever before
  • Online games are blurring the lines between simulated and real gambling
  • The games create unrealistic expectations about real-life gambling

The report also said the easy access to free gambling games on smart phones and tablets was a major concern.

The AGRC — part of Federal Government’s Australian Institute of Family Studies — said more and more people saw gambling as a part of everyday life and they were being exposed to gambling at younger ages than ever before.

“Young people today are growing up around these electronic games,” said Anna Thomas, one of the authors of the Is It Gambling Or A Game? report.

“This is introducing gambling to them at a much younger age than you’d normally expect.”

The report — a compilation of online gambling related research over the last 15 years — said the proliferation of gambling games raised a number of red flags:

  • Because the online games are so realistic, the lines between simulated gambling and real life “commercial” gambling are increasingly blurred.
  • Simulated gambling is accessed increasingly through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Players are heavily exposed to commercial gambling site advertising on these sites.
  • In simulated games, players are protected from the consequences of losing — they can just play again if their luck turns. That creates unrealistic expectations of gambling in real life.

“That’s the danger of these kinds of games,” said Jake Newstadt, who sought help for his gambling problems two years ago.

“They kind of plant potential messages inside of us that we’re not really aware of.”

 

‘It can become quite addictive’: reformed gambler

Mr Newstadt, 25, started gambling at age 12.

He now works as a project worker helping problem gamblers. He is not surprised by the popularity of simulated gambling games — everything from slot machines, to roulette, to online poker.

“On some level, these games do the same thing as real gambling,” he said.

“They trigger something in the brain where there’s this moment of anxiety about not knowing whether this result is going to go our way or not … and that pattern can become quite addictive.”

The AGRC report also raised concerns about online games that disguise their gambling components.

These games have nothing to do with gambling as a central theme. But they have opportunities to gamble embedded in the game.

The wildly popular online game Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is largely a first person shooter.

But players quickly learn the action is also a platform for numerous gambling games.

“They don’t explicitly say it, but that’s definitely what it is,” said 19-year-old Ashley Walton, who has been playing CS:GO for three years.

In CS:GO, players can purchase keys for around $3. The keys open digital cases, which reveal “prizes” a player can win — mostly different kinds of weapons to use in the game.

In a display box on the screen, the potential prizes slide by until one stops in the prize window.

“That was probably the first time I actually dabbled in gambling with real money,” said Mr Walton.

There is no limit on how many keys a player can buy. The prizes vary in value in an off-site digital aftermarket, where buyers will pay up to $1,000 for very rare items.

But Mr Walton said most of the prizes were worth less than the $3 the keys cost.

“The appeal for me was I just wanted to make money from it, while getting the items I wanted,” he said.

“But that fell through.”

Most parents unaware of simulated gambling

Anna Thomas from The Australian Gambling Research Centre said most parents were not aware of the gambling features embedded in many games.

“It can be a game that overtly has nothing to do with gambling,” she said.

“You may have no idea that (your kids) are actually going into a room … and having that experience in another game that’s really something completely different to gambling.”

One of the report’s key recommendations is much more thorough regulation of these games.

Currently, computer games are regulated by the Commonwealth’s Classification Board.

“There’s a need for much more consistent and comprehensive information and advice,” Ms Thomas said.

“You might have the same game that on one platform is rated M, on another platform may have no rating at all, or 12 plus. Very little information to guide players or parents who are looking at the games that their children are playing.”

 

AAP
April 3, 2016 7:45 PM

WHATEVER the solution to the AFL’s vexed issue of betting, League chief executive Gillon McLachlan is adamant it is not prohibition.

McLachlan admits there is some unease within the AFL about whether the League and its clubs should benefit from betting revenue, given the well-known social problems of gambling addiction.

But he added that there was a balance on issues such as gambling advertising at matches.

McLachlan said the AFL had worked with TV broadcasters so there were no live odds shown while the game was being played.

“People’s views are different – a number of people have very strong views about wagering,” he told ABC radio on Sunday.

“I have a view that is not universal around the AFL … that things that are legal and part of our game, our job is then to contextualise that.

“I’m also real about wagering – we are better off having relationships with wagering companies than not because we get access to information.

“We can protect the integrity of our competition.”

McLachlan added the revenue from gambling sponsorship helped the game’s growth but said it was an issue debated “reasonably regularly” at League headquarters.

He also said there is evidence that betting habits are changing, rather than more people are gambling on sport.

“The data basically is that betting is not growing, it’s just skewing from racing across to sport,” he said.

“The runaway train that people are talking about is not reflected in the numbers, (they’re) referring to a change.

“Maybe that means there’s a different profile of the people who are betting.

“I’m not in denial of the problem … the solutions are not as easy as people would think.”

April 3, 2016

Farrah Tomazin

Sports betting agencies are adopting similar marketing techniques used by the powerful tobacco lobby to convince people that online gambling is an intrinsic part of Australian culture, new research suggests.

As the Turnbull government prepares to unveil reforms to crack down on foreign bookmakers, a study has found that betting giants are increasingly using gender stereotypes, fan rituals and images of mateship to “normalise” online wagering through highly targeted advertisements.

“The same playbook that we saw in tobacco and alcohol is happening again,” said Samantha Thomas, a public health academic at Deakin University, which led the study.

“It’s being depicted in advertising as though it’s part of Aussie culture – this idea that if you’re a true Aussie bloke, you go to the pub, you hang with your mates, you watch your sport and now you also gamble on sport as well. We should all be smarter about the way these companies seek to normalise their product.”

The study analysed 85 advertisements from 11 local and international gambling companies, including Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, William Hill, Bet365 and Crownbet.

It found that over three quarters of ads used imagery relating to sports fan rituals (such as images of fans cheering for their teams at stadiums or while watching TV); about half contained symbols of mateship (such as gambling being something you do with your friends at the pub); and about a quarter objectified women (who often appeared in the ads playing a subservient service role to men).

One Sportsbet ad for instance, described the bikini as “one of man’s greatest inventions” while a man poked the breast of a woman in her bathers as she sat by a pool. In another ad by Betfair, a James Bond-type character in a suit played table tennis with a woman wearing a bikini while the voiceover states: “When you have power, you can do what you want. With whoever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, as many different ways as you want.”

The research found 10 main types of “appeal strategies” were used by betting agencies to market sports wagering, including sexual imagery; thrill and risk; sports fan behaviours; mateship; winning; social status; adventure; patriotism; happiness; and power and control.

But experts say the ads should serve as a cautionary tale, particularly in the lead up to the Olympics, which Associate Professor Thomas warned could end up being “one of the biggest betting events the world has ever seen”.

The research is likely to add to concerns about cashed up bookmakers pumping millions of dollars into advertising and corporate sponsorship in the hope of securing a bigger foothold in the lucrative sports betting market.

However, Sportsbet chief financial officer Ben Sleep said he “categorically rejects any comparison of our business to those of tobacco companies.”

“It has been proven that every single cigarette does you harm whereas it is only a very small percentage of consumers who are at risk of developing an issue with wagering. Sportsbet is continually developing world’s best practice harm minimisation measures and strategies to help consumers enjoy our product safely,” Mr Sleep said.

Betting companies are trying to normalise online gambling as an everyday part of Australian culture.

Standard Media Index figures show that in the first two months of this year, the gambling industry had spent $27.3 million on advertising. And as The Age reported on Saturday, football fans have been bombarded with ads since the AFL season opened last week, with more than one in six ads promoting gambling during round one.

A spokesperson for the Australian Wagering Council, which represents the sportsbetting industry, said the ads informed consumers of the identity of licensed Australian-based providers so they could participate in “highly controlled and consumer protected” betting, while avoiding the dangers of illegal offshore operators.

“AWC members recognise community concern in relation to wagering advertising and agree that advertising should always conform to accepted social standards, and not promote harmful behaviour,” the spokesperson said.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/sports-betting-giants-turn-to-sexual-imagery-and-mateship-to-normalise-gambling-20160401-gnwnen.html#ixzz44p541CdP

With the idea being manufactured that gambling and AFL go hand in hand, the AFL is willingly normalising sports betting as an integral part of being an AFL fan.  Generations of young Australians will grow up believing that betting on the footy is a normal part of being an AFL fan, and the AFL is allowing this due to the revenue they generate from their affiliation and sponsorship with the sports betting companies.  Personally I think it is totally irresponsible to put the dollar ahead of the welfare of a generation of punters who could potentially have any number of gambling problems and addictions in the future.

Beaner

Gambling ads dominate AFL’s round one broadcasts

Richard Willingham.  April 1, 2016

Despite a community backlash, gambling advertising continues during TV broadcasts.

Football fans watching round one on TV were bombarded with gambling advertising, with more than one in six ads promoting gaming.

Despite a ban on ads for gambling during game time, data shows it was the second biggest advertising category over the four AFL games shown on free-to-air TV in Melbourne last weekend. Automotive was the biggest advertiser.

Of the nearly 200 ads screened in the Richmond v Carlton, Sydney v Collingwood, Port Adelaide v St Kilda, and Geelong v Hawthorn matches, 34 were for gambling.

CrownBet, the “official wagering partner of the AFL”, accounted for half of the advertising, with other bookies including Sportsbet and Bet365.

There has long been community concern about the proliferation of gambling ads. This is particularly so in sport, where experts have raised concerns that the association between sports and betting is “grooming” children by normalising betting.

Under an industry code of conduct, gambling promotion is banned “siren to siren” but is allowed to be screened before and after matches and during quarter and half-time breaks.

The Victorian government and many interest groups have urged the review of online gambling laws to look at stronger rules governing gambling advertising. Its report has yet to be released.

Samantha Thomas, a public health academic at Deakin University, said gambling was “a very adult product” which was being prolifically marketed in matches promoted by the AFL as being “family friendly”.

“There is a very clear ethical tension here that the AFL and broadcasters have not adequately addressed,” Dr Thomas said. “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 AFL and broadcasters need to respond to community concerns and start to show some leadership in this area; putting the welfare of the community over the money they are making from gambling sponsorship deals.”

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation chief executive Serge Sardo said there was widespread concern about the relationship between sport and betting.

“We are concerned that gambling advertising is changing the way our youth view spot; we are worried about the long-term impact,” Mr Sardo said.

The foundation wants gambling advertising banned from all G-classified TV programs.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform chairman Geoff Lake has demanded the TV networks stop advertising gambling to children.

“It’s that simple,” he said. “This normalises an adult product in the minds of young and impressionable footy fans. If the networks aren’t careful, they could end up killing the golden goose, with parents just turning the TV off.”

The Australian Wagering Council said gambling advertising had to comply with a code of conduct.

“Australian Wagering Council members do recognise community concern in relation to wagering advertising and agree that advertising should always conform to accepted social standards,” a spokeswoman said.

“AWC members will continue to work with sport’s controlling bodies and government to address any concerns.”

Melbourne Football Club has become the ninth Victorian footy club to sign Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s responsible gambling charter, which includes a ban on a partnership with any sports betting agency or gambling promotion.

The charter has been criticised because most AFL clubs have poker machine venues, but the foundation says the charter requires extra levels of responsibility in pokies.

The AFL said it had no role in the operation of the broadcasting code, but it was the league’s understanding that broadcasts always adhered to the limits on advertising.

Channel Seven said it complies with the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice which contains extensive restrictions in relation to gambling advertising, particularly in programming directed towards children.

“Provisions introduced in 2013 also prevent the advertising of odds during live sports broadcasts,” a spokesman said.

“Commercial television free-to-air broadcasters are the only media platform with such comprehensive rules around the placement and broadcast of gambling advertising.”

Bookmakers were also contacted for comment.

AFL 2016: Gambling revenue the AFL’s dirtiest cash cow

Caroline Wilson
April 2, 2016
Gillon McLachlan took more than a week to respond to the Collingwood illicit drugs controversy. By then the so-called “noise” had almost gone quiet and the minds of a multitude of supporters made up but still when the AFL chief finally did speak he made a lot of sense.
McLachlan slammed the calls for zero tolerance as “insane” and then offered on his regular Friday 3AW gig some nice diversionary calls such as a wish to try football in New Zealand again one day despite its first foray flopping. And potentially awarding Jared Tallent his belated London gold medal at the MCG on grand final day.

It was only when broadcaster Neil Mitchell turned the subject to gaming that the AFL boss came down with a case of the mumbles. This is because McLachlan has nowhere to go on this issue and he knows it.

He’s not alone. Despite devoting increasing resources to fighting corruption and shielding the game from the growing international threat of match fixing; gambling revenue remains the AFL’s dirtiest cash cow.

That the competition continues to thrust betting on a daily basis into the hearts and minds of all its supporters of all ages remains a source of some discomfort to the AFL Commission and so it should.

Having chosen years ago to take up – with varying degrees of success – social leadership in the form of indigenous Australians, women, drugs and more recently homophobia and domestic violence; the AFL remains as hooked on gambling revenue as the clubs McLachlan was questioned about on Friday.

The deal it struck with CrownBet last year remains a Goliath in Australian sporting sponsorship with the betting partner smashing its category to the tune of almost double its nearest opponent. What resulted was a five-year deal worth close to $50 million.

The AFL’s corporate partnerships reaped $55 million from late 2014 through 2015 – roughly one-third of its $182 million commercial operations revenue which increased by 11 per cent from the previous year.

At an estimated $10 million annually the CrownBet deal is a beast and an exclusive arrangement which has led so many clubs towards lucrative deals with problem gambling groups simply because the AFL deal has priced some former club betting deals out of the market.

And the AFL delivers in spades. On the face of it, CrownBet owns AFL.com, the nation’s biggest sporting website. In an era when digital assets have never been more powerful, the AFL’s website would indicate that Australian rules football and betting are inexorably linked and that the game is all about the hip pocket, taking a financial punt with the push of a button.

It is hard to argue with the AFL taking a percentage of every football bet given that all sports do so. But surely the hypocrisy of taking so much money out of an industry which has created such a vast social problem and one which has gone hand-in-hand with international sporting corruption must play on the conscience of the commissioners.

Particularly when they now directly play such a role in introducing children to gambling. As if the saturation advertising on TV and radio during AFL broadcast isn’t bad enough. And yet no senior figure appears prepared to show leadership.

Even Colin Carter, the Geelong chairman who this week accused the industry of being complicit in the damage done by poker machines, smacked of double standards when he said his club would love to sell its pokies but couldn’t currently afford to.

Particularly children who attend when every game at Simonds Stadium are inundated by bet365 LED signage. The Cats are no longer sponsored by the betting agency but sold their signage rights to a broker who covers the cost of setting up the LED and in turn gains 20 per cent of the signage as a pay-off.

So like McLachlan’s comments on radio on Friday there is an arm’s length mentality that pervades the Geelong’s betting advertising at the same time the respected club chief speaks wishfully of turning his back on it.

Having met late last year with anti-gaming crusaders Tim Costello and Nick Xenophon over the clubs’ unhealthy reliance on pokies, McLachlan has made no definitive statement on the problem — in 2015 nine Victorian clubs took close to $90 million from gaming machines and their victims.

Only North Melbourne have given away the pokies with Hawthorn’s multimillion-dollar profits so heavily reliant on their gaming booty and with the pokies representing some 20 per cent of the clubs’ total revenue.

And yet the AFL has failed to support Costello’s call for con-free machines, several days ago responding with a wishy-washy statement on the issue instead.