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Real sports fans challenge gambling advertising study

Gambling ad study

A NEW study claims gambling advertising has “crossed a line” ever since betting companies have prominently promoted their name.

Performed by Clarity Strategic Research, the “qualitative study” involved 20 one-hour interviews with sports fans with the conclusion gambling advertising hinders sports viewing on TV.

Clarity Strategic Research directors, Alasdair Johnston and Alex Sweeney, reiterated the findings at Mumbrella’s Sports Marketing Summit stating the biggest hindrance to sports viewers and fans was gambling advertising.

The findings revealed the interviewees do not have a problem with sponsorship or advertising, except when betting firms are involved.

“Gambling advertising is a consistent bugbear to TV sports viewers,” Sweeney said.

But 25-year-old linesman for Ausgrid, Ryan Worthing, does not share the same opinion, despite watching as much sport as he can in his spare time.

When asked about his favourite code, Worthing listed National Rugby League (NRL) cricket, Australian Football League (AFL), Tennis, and then added: “basically all sports”.

While betting markets are available for all of his preferred sports at corporate online bookmakers, he says gambling “has no appeal” to him.

He said although he notices the gambling advertisements and even “sees some odds that interest him”, he “still never puts the bet on” and it “does not bother” him that the ads are present.

The study comes after new gambling advertising regulations have been proposed where live odds and gambling ads will not be aired five minutes before and after a live sporting match, or before 8:30 pm – whichever comes sooner.

As part of the proposal, the government may also prohibit gambling advertisements completely during all live sporting events broadcast on free to air TV, commercial radio, pay TV and the Special Broadcasting Service.

“The commonly made assertion is that gambling advertising and sponsorship has ‘crossed a line’ in recent years, and there is widespread concern that ‘betting firm representatives’ are being positioned as equals to the sports ‘experts’ on shows,” Sweeney said at the Summit.

“When you pan around the screen you might have the esteemed former players observing the game and then on the sofa beside them is the betting representative giving their point of view on the game.” multi specials

But Josh Holt, who is a father of one, disagrees.

Holt regularly watches his favourite sports including cricket, soccer and NRL on free to air TV, at the pub, and online via live streams.

“He [bookmaker promoter] is clearly just providing odds and encouraging more bets,” Holt said.

“On the couch, they are different than a commentator who is telling it as they see it.”

Holt, who also enjoys a punt, said he has noticed the gambling ads on TV and via streaming sites since “they take up the whole screen” but not on websites.

He added he does not see anything wrong with gambling ads as “an individual makes the decision to bet”.

“Addiction is an issue, but betting companies offer self-help restrictions if the individuals wish to place extra security on themselves,” Holt said.

One of the main reasons gambling ads are being reduced on television – as supported by bookmakers – is exposure to children.

While Worthing does not have a child, he believes young children who are exposed cannot place a bet due to the restrictions bookmakers already have in place.

When asked if the ads impact a child’s likelihood to bet when they’re older he said: “They have more of a chance to be influenced to bet by a friend than a stupid ad.”

He added it is “unlikely for a kid to say the Knights are paying $5 to win over saying the Knights are going lose” due to gambling ads.

Holt, who has a young daughter, said he believes gambling ads make children “see gambling as a way of life” but believes “education” is vital as they are likely to learn of the pastime irrespective of the ads.

The study also suggested sports fans are more likely to watch sport on TV than physically go to live games due to the cost, accessibility, comfortability and more.

“Sports bodies and leading sports stadiums have a massive opportunity to upgrade the live sports experience in Australia,” Sweeney said.

“Consistent criticisms are made in terms of amenities, customer service, catering and comfort.

“Australians want to attend ‘live sport events’ but feel more effort is required to encourage their participation.”

Interestingly, Holt believes having a casual punt on the game “adds excitement to watching the game” and “personally involves you”.

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