07:14am Thursday 27 February 2020

Gambling ads are raising the stakes

In a new study of Victorian gamblers published in International Gambling Studies researchers from Monash University investigated how aware individuals were of gambling advertising; their attitudes towards gambling advertising; and what role they felt that different marketing strategies had on gambling behaviours.

Lead author and study Chief Investigator Dr Samantha Thomas from the Department of Marketing, said the results showed that the community had a heightened awareness and concern about the widespread advertising of gambling products, particularly during sporting matches.

“The number of gambling products available have diversified considerably in recent years, and so too have the ways in which the gambling industry has been able to use different marketing strategies to target and engage different sectors of the community,” Dr Thomas said.

“A majority of the participants involved in the research were very aware of the increased amount of gambling advertising, and were particularly concerned about the impact of advertising on children. Men in particular described being ‘bombarded’ and ‘targeted’ by sports bet advertising.”

Participants described how sports betting had become so embedded into sporting broadcasts that the boundaries between advertising and commentary had become blurred. Young men in particular felt that they were unable to escape or avoid the enticing nature of some of the advertisements, particularly those online.

“Many of the younger men involved in the study said the more gambling was promoted, the more it was becoming normal to engage in betting. Some individuals stated that they participated in sports betting because they didn’t want to feel the ‘odd one out’ in their peer circles,” Dr Thomas said.

“The study has certainly highlighted that younger men feel ‘pressured’ into sports betting by all the hype surrounding its promotion. However, women and older men strongly resisted the messages and marketing strategies that they were given about gambling. Older men in particular were upset that gambling advertising was ruining their enjoyment of sports.

“We also found that there was a general concern about the long term impact of the promotion of gambling in family friendly environments – including at sports venues, and during family viewing time slots. Participants were concerned that the amount of advertising that regularly confronted children – and particularly when associated with sporting identities and teams – would encourage children to think that gambling was a natural part of being a sports fan.”

Finally the study explored incentivisation schemes – such as free meals in pokie venues, and free online bets. While older men felt that the risks posed by incentive schemes outweighed the benefits to them as a consumer, older women, those from lower socio-economic groups, problem gamblers, and young men saw incentives as ‘no lose’ benefits which outweighed the risks of engaging in gambling.

This study was funded by the Victorian Department of Justice through its research grants program.

For more information or to interview Dr Samantha Thomas contact Glynis Smalley Monash Media & Communications + 61 3 9903 4843 0408 027 848.

For policy questions contact Anita Jonceski (Strategic Communications Adviser, Victorian Department of Justice), 03 8684 0313 or 0457 526 899 

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