Posts Tagged ‘sports bet advertising’

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

$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

Is online sports betting the new frontier for problem gamblers?

March 26, 2016

It’s a turf war that transcends every major sporting event in the country, and anyone who watched Thursday’s AFL season opener between Richmond and Carlton would have caught a glimpse of how ubiquitous it has become.

We saw it shortly after the first bounce, when Hollywood veteran Samuel L. Jackson appeared on our TV screens, urging us to join him as a member of online gambling agency Bet365.

We saw it on Twitter throughout the game, with global giant William Hill encouraging us to have a wager through its controversial “in-play” service.

 

And chances are we’ll see it every week this season and beyond: cashed up bookmakers pumping millions into advertising and corporate sponsorship in the hope of securing a bigger foothold in the lucrative sports betting market.

But what impact is this having and how should authorities deal with it?

It’s a question Victorian Gaming Minister Jane Garrett has been asked several times before, and one that she’s been forced ponder as the mother of young children.

A few years ago, the Labor MP was holidaying in Queensland with her family when her daughter – then only aged around eight –called a friend in Melbourne and cited the odds of Buddy Franklin kicking the first goal. Garrett was shocked.

“I am concerned about the explosion of gambling advertising in our community, and I know from personal experience that children are talking odds instead of their sports idols,” she says.

“We do have to take a step back and admit there have been big changes in how these things are being marketed. There’s a pervasiveness about it and at every level of government we need to acknowledge it and deal with it.”

Within weeks, the Turnbull government is expected to unveil reforms designed to crack down on illegal offshore wagering. Among the changes, online betting on live sport – otherwise known as “in-play” – is expected to be banned at least until the federal election, and unlicensed offshore bookmakers will not be permitted to take bets from Australians.

But the issue of advertising is unlikely to be tackled in any significant way because it was taken out of the terms of reference following a backlash from media broadcasters.

“These bookies have very deep pockets and they’ve got a huge budget for advertising which is why the TVs and the sporting bodies love them so much,” says Monash University expert Charles Livingstone.

In Victoria, the Andrews government was deeply unimpressed when this year’s Australian Open became the first grand slam event to have a betting agency, William Hill, as its major sponsor (just as tennis was plagued by match-fixing claims). However, it won’t say what, if anything, it could do to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen next year.

In a bid to tackle betting ads more broadly, the state is considering restrictions on where billboards can appear, and has also flagged with Canberra the development of national regulations. But as Garrett admits: “there’s no easy fix”.

What is clear is that smart phone technology has helped reshape the industry dramatically in recent years, and companies are prepared to spend up big to target a new generation of gamblers. Standard Media Index figures show that in the first two months of this year, the gambling industry had spent $27.3 million on advertising – over 40 per cent more than the corresponding period. Turnover on sports betting has also increased: from $1.66 billion in 2004-05 to $5.89 billion in 2014-15.

But the impact on people is what worries Financial Counselling Australia policy manager Lauren Levin, who has seen more than a few lose their life savings, lured by incentives such as cash bonuses and credit. Her organisation suggests banning advertising links between payday lending sites; requiring customers to nominate a maximum bet when they set up an online account; and a national register for people who want to self-exclude.

In-play betting, however, remains the most contested issue within the industry and it seems the federal government is yet to decide whether it is for or against liberalising the practice. Traditional operators, pubs and clubs will be encouraged by Canberra’s decision to impose a short term ban until the election, but will want to see a permanent reform. Others, however, take a different view.

“In-play play wagering on sport is a product that already exists in Australia, within a well established regulatory framework, in many thousands of retail wagering and gaming venues,” says Sportsbet regulatory affairs director Ben Sleep. “It makes no sense that it is not allowed in an online environment.”

BETTING AND SPORT

Tennis: William Hill became the first betting partner of a grand slam when it sponsored the Australian Open this year.

AFL: CrownBet is a partner of the AFL. UBet sponsors Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide. Crown (which owns CrownBet) is a partner of West Coast

Cricket: Bet365 is a partner of Cricket Australia

NBL: Ladbrokes is the “Official Australian Sports Betting and Wagering Partner”

Soccer: TAB is the “Official Betting Partner of the FFA”. Crown Perth (which is part of the same company as CrownBet) is a partner of Perth Glory.

Rugby: William Hill sponsors Brisbane Broncos. TAB is a partner of Canberra Raiders. Crown Resorts is partners Melbourne Storm.

Racing: Ladbrokes is an official partner of the Melbourne Racing Club. William Hill is a major sponsor of the Cox Plate.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/bookies-battle-for-a-bigger-share-of-sports-betting-market-but-at-what-cost-20160326-gnrhbj.html#ixzz445fo1ZKl

Yet another story of sports betting companies preying on someone with a gambling addiction.  The other story I read recently was about a sports betting agency lending someone with an intellectual disability $80 000 (which he didn’t ask for), which he subsequently lost, and they then wanted him to sell his family house to pay for the debt.  That story can be found here:

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/archive/money/lost-in-a-loophole-over-betting/story-fngu4es9-1227588868614

The quicker these laws are changed the better so people who do have a gambling problem won’t be taken advantage of.

Beaner

Problem gambler, counsellors call for online betting credit crackdown; Senate to consider tougher laws

By Kaitlyn Sawrey, Claire Aird, Jo Lauder, Stephen Stockwell for Hack (Triple J)

On Melbourne Cup day, Anthony received calls and texts offering him almost $10,000 in gambling credit, trying to induce him to reopen the sports betting accounts that cost him his business, friends and family.

His life slid out of control in 2013.

“I was given about $980,000 in credit to bet with companies, and of course I lost all that, because I was a compulsive gambler,” he told triple j’s Hack.

By September this year, he had bet a “totally ridiculous” sum of around $2.5 million.

Online gambling lenders are not held to the same standard as credit companies because they do not charge any fees or interest, which triggers lending regulations.

A recent report from Financial Counselling Australia chronicled the gambling industry’s practices of handing out credit and inducements.

The report title Duds, Mugs and the A-list was based on a quote from a former employee of a sports betting company.

“‘A-List’ customers are wined and dined and offered credit ranging from $100,000-$500,000,” the report said.

“‘B list’ customers are ‘serious credit punters’ and are offered up to $20,000 in credit. The ‘duds’ or ‘mugs’ are everyone else: this group is offered $200-$500 of unsolicited credit.”

‘Dedicated relationship guy’ keep in contact with gamblers

Anthony said it started out with bookies offering free bets and match deposits, but “what you don’t know is that once you’ve opened an account … very quickly they can tell whether you’re going to turn into a VIP — a very big loser. And you’re a lot of money to them, a good income source”.

He said once he passed a certain threshold — $500 in free bets, matched by his own $500 — then it was “game on”.

“They’ll go to any lengths to include you and give you options in things. Probably more so than your real friends probably would do.” Anthony

“They’ll come at you thick and fast. They will have a dedicated person who will ring you and look after and email you,” Anthony said.

“This person will offer you free sporting event tickets, free sport deposits, free bets for absolutely no reason. They’ll find out what you like to do in your leisure time. They will become your best friend basically.”

Anthony, a golf and rugby lover, was offered free tickets to events.

“You feel really important because you’re one of eight people sitting in a box at a sporting event,” he said.

“They’ll go to any lengths to include you and give you options in things. Probably more so than your real friends probably would do.”

He said at one point he had six or seven of these “relationship guys ringing me and chatting me”.

Anthony also had unsolicited calls from other companies offering up to $20,000 in credit.

“I used to say — where did you get my information from? How do you know who I am? And they would say, ‘a friend of a friend told me’.”

 

Companies penalised for breaching gambling laws

Financial Counselling Australia’s report into the industry claimed a “former employee [told us] sports betting companies swap customer account data, contrary to privacy legislation”.

“When a gambler ‘goes cold’ and stops betting with one company, the company swaps lists with another company, which then entices the person to resume gambling,” the report said.

Offering unsolicited credit is outlawed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, but it is not consistent across the country.

The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing told Hack it was investigating a number of operators, but could not go into detail.

However, they said Sportsbetting.com.au — which is licensed in the Northern Territory — pleaded guilty in Sydney’s Downing Centre Court in September to publishing an ad on its website offering 100 per cent bonuses to new clients who deposited funds into betting accounts.

The offer did not exclude NSW residents. The company was fined $1,650.

Penrith-based company ClassicBet Pty Ltd was also convicted of illegal gambling advertising just days before, after it published an ad for a “Premium Rewards Program”, promising punters would be “rewarded for every bet you place, regardless whether you win or lose” and offering bonus bets and “rewards” including shopping vouchers, sports tickets and holidays.

ClassicBet was fined $1,000.

 

Loans by betting companies ‘increases impulse betting’

Lauren Levin, manager of policy and strategic projects at Financial Counselling Australia, said the Northern Territory has the least restrictive legislation.

“Inducements are legal, and surprise, surprise, that’s where most of the companies are licensed,” she said.

“If [loans are] offered online by the provider, it makes it much easier for impulse betting, for chasing your losses.” Senator Nick Xenophon

When Hack contacted the Australian Wagering Council, they declined an interview. They said from the beginning of November, all wagering service providers in the Northern Territory were required to comply with a code of practice.

And also that “any call for the prohibition of deferred settlement facilities would result in customers accessing credit from unscrupulous operators like illegal SP bookmakers and loan sharks and illegal offshore operators, who have little regard for consumer protection or harm minimisation [sic]”.

South Australian senator and anti-gambling advocate Nick Xenophon disagreed that clamping down on the industry would push punters towards dodgy lenders.

“If it’s offered online by the provider, it makes it much easier for impulse betting, for chasing your losses,” he said.

“If you have to go and borrow money, take out a loan — it doesn’t allow the fuelling of the gambling addiction.”

 

‘Legislation has to change’

Next week, Senator Xenophon will introduce a bill to amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which would allow punters to self-exclude from online wagering services, set limits on monthly and yearly betting budgets and ban gambling advertisements during G-rated TV programs and sports broadcasts.

“It’s not just a question about ethics,” Senator Xenophon said, “it’s about… whether it should be legal. I don’t think it should be”.

“You can’t have credit if you go to a pokies outlet — that’s illegal. But it seems to be legal if it’s online gambling and that’s wrong. If you don’t have the money to gamble in the first place, why should you have access to credit?

“There’s going to be a whole generation of young Australians who won’t be able to afford to go on that overseas trip, or buy their first car or put a deposit on their first home.”

Anthony said he wanted to see legislation enacted that would stop others falling into the financial hole he did.

“When you’re left with nothing — I’m not talking about money, I’m talking about the love of family and friends gone – I mean, you go into a pretty dark place,” he said.

“It’s pretty hard to see your way out, you think you’re the only person in the world — how could I be so stupid?

“But you’ve got a disease of addiction. Legislation has to change to protect those who fall into that addictive pattern.”

Senator Xenophon said if the bill was not successful, people could expect to hear more from him in the lead-up to the next election.

“We’re already the number one country in the world in terms of losses, we’re number one in the world in terms of problem gambling,” he said.

“This needs to be an election issue.”

If you’re struggling with a gambling problem, there is always someone you can talk to on 1800 858 858. If you don’t feel like picking up the phone, you can chat to someone online here.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-04/problem-gambler-counsellors-call-for-online-betting-credit/6913036

With the AFL and NRL finals upon us, along with the rugby world cup, and the horse racing spring carnival just around the corner, the sports betting companies have gone into over drive with their advertising campaigns to try and get the average punter to bet with them. Any number of money back specials and bonus bets and best odds are being promoted on TV, radio, in newspapers and on the internet and in many smart phone apps, and virtually around the clock. This article claims the sports betting companies are fighting for a share of the $21 billion wagered by Aussies on sports betting and racing each year. That is a serious amount of money. You could argue that the competition for our gambling dollar is giving punters better odds and better deals, but the reality is the majority of gamblers will be losing money in the long run; a very large majority. The sports betting companies have done a great job in ‘normalising’ gambling, where betting on sports now seems to go hand in hand with watching the sports themselves and this to me as the greatest issue as the next generations of young Australians growing up are just going to accept sports betting as a part of life (much like the baby boomers and subsequent generations of TV watchers were conditioned to accept advertising as a part of the TV watching experience).

The bottom line is the state and federal governments are doing very little to slow down the growth of the gambling industry in Australia, mainly due to the amount of money they are earning from taxation. I think the freedom to be able to have a bet on a sporting event if you choose to is great, and many of us enjoy this freedom as a bit of escapism. I can only imagine where things are going to be in 10 years time though if the sports betting companies are left unchecked in their expansion in to the Australian way of life through advertising and their constant hard sell.

Beaner

Sports betting companies spend big on ads but the regulator is watching

Natalie O’Brien and Perry Williams
Published: September 27, 2015

It has catchy music, glamorous young things enjoying glitzy nightclub settings, and promises that every time you bet you will earn reward points to redeem in resorts, hotels, restaurants, casinos and bars.  Viewers of the expensive television marketing campaign are enticed to “transform your betting experience wherever you are in Australia”.

The only trouble with this attention-grabbing promotion being shown in prime time on commercial channels and on social media is that the James Packer-controlled CrownBet​running the ads may be in breach of the NSW state gaming regulations.

The ads are not the only ones being shown that offer inducements or rewards for gambling. There is a war on between sports betting companies for the gambling dollar – which is estimated at more than $21 billion a year –  and a number of marketing campaigns have caught the attention of the NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing.

A spokesman for OLGR said the CrownBet promotion first came to their attention as part of its monitoring program.

“OLGR has advised the company that its promotion is suspected of being in breach of NSW’s Racing Administration Regulation 2012 by offering inducements to gamble and failing to exclude NSW residents,” said the spokesman. “The company will be provided with an opportunity to respond prior to a final decision on regulatory action being taken.”

While the investigation is under way, the advertisements are still running in prime time TV slots.  CrownBet is one of a number of companies under investigation by OLGR over regulatory breaches, however the watchdog won’t reveal which other companies are being looked at. A spokesman for CrownBet declined to comment.

The maximum fine for companies under the NSW regulations is $5500. It pales in comparison to the amount being spent on advertising for gambling. The Standard Media Index (SMI) shows that in the year to August $149.1 million was spent on gambling ads, up from $104.5 million for the same period last year and more than double the $68.7 spent for the same period in 2012.

The index also shows most money is spent on metropolitan television and on subscription television, although the outlay on digital media is rising.

NSW Greens MP Dr John Kaye says the fines handed out to companies found to be breaching regulations are not high enough and are seen by the industry as just a cost of doing business. Kaye says he believes the advertising campaigns show a callous disregard for problem gamblers.

“It is a high-profit business where the revenue is increasingly focused on problem gambling and websites are specifically targeting young adult males who are known to be most susceptible to reward programs.”

Up to 500,000 Australians are at risk of becoming or are problem gamblers, according to an Australian government problem gambling website. It estimates the social cost of problem gambling to be $4.7 billion.

Some of the industry players offering rewards and bonuses include the Tom Waterhouse company, which is offering punters $100 bonus credits if they deposit $30 in a start-up account. Although this ad does say it excludes NSW, Victorian, West Australian and South Australian residents.

Rival firm Sportsbet also is offering a promotion where you deposit $25 and get a $75 bonus bet. It too says this excludes NSW, Vic, WA and SA.

International betting giant William Hill has kick-started a promotional campaign with TV spots offering money back to gamblers. The “own the moment” campaign says William Hill’s offer of money back means “real money – dollars in your account to do with whatever you like”.

Tim Costello, the chairman of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, says the marketing campaigns are predatory and unacceptable. He says parents are outraged that they can’t protect their kids from this advertising.

“In a sense, we are essentially conditioning young people to believe that this is normal,” he says.

One of the pioneers of internet gambling in Australia, Matthew Tripp, says the surge of competition in the market also reflects a demand from punters to bet on their smart phones instead of visiting their local TAB.

“It’s a shift from on course, retail and telephone to online,” says Tripp, who now runs CrownBet.

The barrage of advertising gives the impression of a booming wagering market, but the bookmaker says that’s not quite the case.

“The awareness is heightened but certainly the gambling dollar hasn’t gone through the roof. The online market as a whole is growing at a rate of between 10 per cent to 15 per cent year on year but the overall sector is tracking in line with the economy.”

Tripp rode the market better than most. After shunning university to follow his father Alan into bookmaking, the 40-year-old made his fortune selling Sportsbet to Irish wagering giant Paddy Power for $115 million.

He then switched to a new online betting start-up, BetEasy, before James Packer’s Crown Resorts took control of the firm and rebadged it as CrownBet, with Tripp as its boss.

CrownBet caused a stir in sporting circles in August after signing a deal to broadcast AFL matches online via its apps through 2016.

Tripp says it reflects the huge popularity of the footy code – along with horse racing – among its punters, but acknowledges the crowded market makes it increasingly hard to stand out.

“Everything has a tipping point and I think we are just about to reach ours in the online wagering space,” he says. “You can certainly over-saturate in the market and I think you’ll find some of the European operators are certainly doing that. You need to pick that market and turn the dial up or down in line with consumer sentiment.”

By offering a rewards program linked to Crown’s hotel and casino offerings, Tripp says CrownBet is focusing on loyalty rather than instant rewards and credit offers.

“The offerings that are out there at the moment are very homogenous and frankly it’s a bit of a race to the bottom. Bet with us and win lose or draw you will gain something for your loyalty rather than getting your money back if your horse runs eighth in a race.”

The next few months will go a long way to defining the success of CrownBet and its rivals performance this year with the all-important spring horse racing season and footy finals generating a huge share of the firms’ annual revenue.

Executives like Tripp are also keeping an eagle eye on Canberra.

Former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell has been handed the task of reviewing the federal government’s outdated Interactive Gambling Act which governs the way technology can be used within the industry.

O’Farrell’s review, due in mid December, will also weigh how to provide more safeguards for the industry, given problem gambling rates are three times higher among online gamblers than traditional betting methods.

Gamblers will also be looking for guidance from the review over the controversial in-play betting system, promoted by international players William Hill and Bet 365, which allows punters to bet live on sports via their smart phones.

You can bet on the outcome of an event in Australia after it has begun but only via the phone or in person. However, British company William Hill claims that as long as punters keep their smart phone microphone on, it still adheres to the rule that live bets during sporting events are made by phone only.

Tripp says he wants to see a level playing field for all operators.

“The European operators continue to tread a very fine line in the way they conduct their business. We need to do everything in our power to ensure the government and obviously our customer base are happy with the middle ground that is found within the review.”

In 2013, the Department of Communications report into the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 called for industry to establish an advertising code of conduct to ensure advertising is not contrary to community standards and expectations.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Wagering Council, the peak body that represents the online sports betting and wagering industry in Australia including current members Bet365, Sportsbet, Unibet, the William Hill Group Australia and Betfair, says they are fully supportive of the recommendation and it is committed to working with industry, regulators and the wider community to ensure a code is developed sooner rather than later.

But she says that any discussion on the impact of advertising on problem gambling should note the recent report from Gambling Research Australia, The Marketing of Sports Betting and Racing, which concedes it is not possible to determine whether a causal relationship exists between problem gambling and exposure to gambling advertising in general, or to wagering and sports-related gambling advertising in particular.

“It’s important to note that legislation in each state and territory regulates the use of inducements and AWC members comply with those regulations. Statutory prohibition on the use of inducements in some states has seen a natural decline in the use of inducements across the wagering sector,” she says.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, the chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform that reported in 2013, says the proliferation of sports betting is a serious cause for concern.

“People are especially sick of wall-to-wall gambling advertising, particularly during G-rated television periods. Moreover the problem is only getting worse with the advertising spending going up and the amount being waged increasing dramatically,” he says.

Wilkie says the committee released a report into sports betting two years ago which provides a number of recommendations but both the “current and former governments have failed to act or do anything meaningful to address the problem”.

“For a start gambling advertising needs to be reined in and stopped altogether during daytime TV. Inducements and credit must be banned. And effective harm minimisation measures should be mandated.

“The current government inquiry into online gambling, including sports betting, is a sham seeing as three of the four terms of reference are only to do with protecting Australian online gambling businesses from their overseas competitors.”

This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sports-betting-companies-spend-big-on-ads-but-the-regulator-is-watching-20150925-gjv6xa.html

It is interesting to think that it was actually illegal to bet on sports in Australia for a big part of our history.  Betting in the 19th Century was common on sports such as boxing and athletics, then in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century there was a broad campaign against gambling, and widespread bans on sports betting were imposed around Australia, which remained in place until the 1970s.

During the 70s, sports betting restrictions were slowly relaxed.  TABs experimented with betting options on sports events, including the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and one-day cricket matches from the World Series of Cricket, but this did not prove popular.

On-course bookies were then given freedom to take bets on Aussie Rules Football games, and the TAB also introduced Footy TAB.  Again, the small winning pools and limited betting options failed to capture the interest of the serious punter, who continued to be keener on placing large bets with SP bookies (‘Starting Price’ bookies, who were often unlicensed).

Sports betting started to grow in the 1990s when the government approved sports betting agencies to start operating out of Darwin in the Northern Territory.  By 2000 TABs and bookmakers were taking bets on numerous sports in all states and territories.  While sports betting in 1999 accounted for only 0.2% of total Australian gambling expenditure, it has grown significantly in the years since with the introduction of on-line and mobile betting, aggressive advertising campaigns and an influx of overseas sports betting agencies into the Australian gambling market.

In March 2008, with James Packer’s Crown Limited bankrolling it, Betfair won a unanimous High Court decision which deemed it unconstitutional to prohibit bookmakers from advertising in one state and operating in another. Betstar’s Alan Eskander claimed it was the most important thing to happen in 150 years of bookmaking in Australia.  Advertising has grown enormously since then, where the main agencies now have a major presence on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.  Many of the biggest sports bet companies also directly sponsor sports codes and teams, and their advertising is visible on the team’s websites, sporting grounds and scoreboards all across the country.

The following is a list of some of the Australian sports betting agencies and their relationship with sporting codes and clubs around Australia:

TAB Sportsbet is official partners with the AFL and the FFA.

Sportsbet is the official partner of the Newcastle Knights, Sydney Roosters and Collingwood football club, and is the approved betting partner of the AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia and Rugby Australia.

IASbet.com is the approved betting partner of AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia and Rugby Australia.

Sportingbet is an approved betting partner of the AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia and the V8 Supercars, and is a proud sponsor of the Carlton Football club and the Brisbane Broncos.

Betfair is the approved betting operator of Cricket Australia, AFL, NRL, ARL, PGA tour Australasia, the FFA, Australian rugby and tennis Australia.

Centrebet are the proud sponsors of the St Kilda football club, the Manly Sea Eagles, the Penrith Panthers, the St George Illawarra Dragons, and they are the approved betting partners of the NRL, AFL, cricket Australia, tennis Australian and the PGA tour.

Tom Waterhouse is an approved betting partner of the AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, and Australian rugby.

Unibet is an approved betting partner of the AFL, NRL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, PGA Australia and Australian rugby.

Luxbet proudly supports the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Cronulla Sharks, and is an approved sports betting operator of the NRL, AFL, tennis Australia, PGA golf and cricket Australia.

Bet365 don’t appear to have a relationship with any sporting code or club as yet.

A 2011 gambling report in the Economist indicated that, on average, every adult Australian loses just under $1300 per year. As a nation, we drop $22 billion per year on the punt, nearly five times what we spend on foreign aid. Furthermore, it was estimated that the revenue generated by sports betting in Australia would top $600 million by the end of 2011, up from $264 million in 2006. It is estimated that the sports betting share of the Australian gambling industry is growing annually at 24 times the rate of horseracing.

In Victoria alone, total gambling losses were estimated at $5.49 billion in 2011-12, which equates to just over $15 million a day. $2.49 billion of this was spent on poker machines, which means $3 billion dollars was spent in Victoria on other types of betting like horse racing and sports betting, which is just over $8.2 million dollars a day.

On the 1st August 2013, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that sports bet operators could no longer promote live odds during sporting events, although normal sports betting ads could still be shown during the breaks.  This was no doubt in response to the uproar caused by bookmaker Tom Waterhouse’s efforts in sponsoring the NRL and Channel 9 in 2013 (for a reported $50 million over 5 years) and actively spruiking live odds during the NRL games back in March 2013 as one of the expert commentary team.  The NRL walked away from the deal after the controversy it caused, although they deny that the deal fell through due to the public backlash caused by Tom Waterhouse’s presence in the commentary box.

It is easy to see how much the sports betting industry has grown in Australia in recent years when you look at how many sports betting options there are now available to the punter, along with what markets you can actually bet on.

On Sportsbet, there are 30 different sports/ events you can bet on, and for the 2013 AFL Grand Final this weekend between Hawthorn and Fremantle there are 238 Markets.  238 different betting options for one game!

Along with the numerous sports and games like poker, most sports bet bookies also now take bets on pretty much any other event with an unknown outcome.  These are the Novelty markets for Sportsbet on 26th September 2013 (these are no joke):

Current Affairs Pope betting (who will be the next Pope after Francis I), Airport betting (the location of Melbourne’s 3rd airport, which airport will get approved next between Sydney and Melbourne, when the 2nd Brisbane airport will open), who will be the next permanent CEO of the NBN Co, when the Melbourne Star Wheel will be officially opened, which city will host the 2020 World Expo, which will be the first country to leave the European union, what the Apple share price will be at the end of the year, who will win the 2013 Noble Peace prize, who will be cast to play Edward Snowden in the film about the NSA whistle blower, what the starting price (in US dollars) for Twitter will be on the NASDAQ, and by what means Julian Assange will leave the Ecuadorian embassy.

Entertainment there are markets on Australian TV for the winner of Big Brother, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, Australia’s Got Talent, X Factor, and which character will be killed off next in the TV show Offspring.

Financial what the new official interest rate will be when announced by the RBA on 1st October 2013.

Hollywood who will play the next James Bond, the main Academy Awards winners, who will play Berlusconi in the movie about him, and how much Wolf Creek 2 will make at the Australian box office in the opening weekend.

Music who will win the 2013 Mercury music prize, who will be the next artist to remove their music from Spotify, who will be the next Australian to sell 1 million copies of a single in the US, and who will be the first to leave One Direction.

Novelty Bets how many PS4s will sell in the first 10 days, there are 5 royal specials (baby George’s first words, sex of their 2nd child, name of the 2nd child, when the baby will be born, and who the next monarch will be), which country will have first contact with alien life, when will Shane Warne and Liz Hurley get married, what Dave Hughes next TV role/ job will be, and what the name of Simon Cowell’s baby will be.

Pageants Miss World winner

Politics there are 13 different markets for Australian and world politics, ranging from who will lead the Labour party to when same sex marriage will be introduced in Australia.

Sports Novelties who will be the 2013 BBC sports personality of the year, will QLD win 10 State of Origins in a row, who will win the South Pole Challenge, and which A-League club will have the most Twitter followers.

Weather 2013 Global Average Temperature anomaly.

Now the first thing that springs to my mind with these betting types is that for some of the markets, the outcomes will probably be known by someone before it is officially announced, and the fact that you can bet on it leaves it wide open for manipulation or corruption. And corruption in sports due to sports betting has been, and is going to be, an ongoing issue in all sports world wide.

Australians have almost forgotten that Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were caught up in a bookmaking scandal in India, and Hansie Cronje who was captain of South Africa was fixing matches and then later died plane crash, where there are suspicions he was murdered.

The most recent revelation of corruption in Australian sport was during September 2013 in the Victorian Premier League soccer, where police arrested 10 people associated with the Southern Stars Football Club, nine players and the coach, for their involvement in match fixing worth around $2 million dollars.

Australia sees itself as an honest country, but the mix of money and sport and greed has always allowed for sport to be compromised, and with sports betting becoming so widespread and commonplace in Australia, it seems likely that the VPL incident will not be the last of its kind in this country.

Beaner

References

Costello T & Millar R, Wanna Bet?, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, 2000.

http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2011/november/1320384446/jonathan-horn/caught-game

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-01/restrictions-on-broadcasting-of-live-betting-odds-now-in-place/4857242

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-20/nrl-fails-to-agree-with-waterhouse-over-sponsorship-deal/4699252