Australian youth must be made aware of marketing strategies used to encourage them to gamble, according to a leading researcher.
Senior Research Fellow at Monash University, Dr Samantha Thomas, will educate students on the issues and risks associated with gambling at a series of public forums coinciding with Responsible Gambling Awareness Week from 14-20 May.
Invited by the Department of Justice, Victoria, Dr Thomas will make a keynote address at a forum for senior high-school students in Melbourne’s Federation Square tomorrow.
Drawing upon recent research and marketing campaigns, Dr Thomas will provide practical demonstrations of the marketing techniques used on television and at sporting events to ingrain gambling in the youth psyche.
In an Australian first study, Dr Thomas recently investigated the amount and content of sports betting marketing during Australian sporting games.
The study found young people are bombarded with betting ads during AFL matches and other sports coverage.
“Parents need to talk to their children about sports and online gambling, which are the fastest growing forms of gambling in Australia,” Dr Thomas said.
“The growth in sports betting has been blamed on our love of sport, but it’s because of the marketing that’s associated with it. It’s very aggressive marketing in spaces where kids are, such as sporting matches, and during sports broadcasts.
“Parents have to talk to their kids. They need to be aware that the research indicates that 80 per cent of young people gamble before they are 18.”
With the London Olympics approaching in July, it is expected the number of advertisements will increase across all forms of media.
“Children will be watching the Olympics in huge numbers. We predict they’ll be hit with a barrage of betting advertising. It’s really important we educate kids so they know what they are seeing,” Dr Thomas said.
Dr Thomas will make a keynote address at a free public forum coinciding with Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, Tuesday 15 May from 8.30am–1.00pm at Zinc, Federation Square, Melbourne. For more information or to register, visit the Gambling Awareness Week website.