Tony Jones

Aussie gambling ads have come under fire from sports TV personality, and former problem gambler, Tony Jones. (Image: Nine)

Aussie gambling ads are a “social cancer” which is destroying the social fabric, a 3AW host has said.

Tony Jones, host on the news station, used his morning show last week to blast the “saturation” of gambling ads appearing on television.

“Up front credit at $200 when you sign up; money back offers when your team doesn’t win. Free access to live sport,” Jones said.

“If you believe them, you can’t lose. Well, you can. And unfortunately it’s become a social cancer.”

Jones admits to being a former problem gambler who spent “$200,000-$300,000” feeding a gambling habit.

As well as a personality on Victoria and Melbourne’s 3AW, he is the sports anchor on Nine News.

Australian Gambling Ads Growing

According to research by Roy Morgan last year, Aussies spend more on gambling than any other nation, and it’s not the first time that gambling ads have been attacked in Oz.

Recently, Pedestrian.tv’s Charlie Pickering attacked the style and content of Australian sportsbetting ads that are currently hitting the commercial TV channels.

“I get it, you know, it’s just a bit of banter, it’s just a bit of a laugh,” he said in his most recent broadside, “just as it was last month when the University of Sydney’s gambling treatment clinic revealed that the number of young people asking them for help had doubled in three years. Mostly young men, in trouble with online betting.”

Aussie Gambling Ads Jump 250 Percent

According to ad monitoring organisation, Ebiquity, gambling advertising rose over 250 percent from 2013 to 2014. 19,953 gambling ads were shown from January to October in 2013.

A year later, the same period showed that over 50,000 ads were broadcast.

The rise in adverts has been linked in part to a ban on promoting live betting during sports TV coverage.

“Once again, this is the failure of self-regulation. There are grounds for government intervention,” said Monash University’s Charles Livingstone.

“The evidence is if you expose people to more ads about gambling, they are more likely to become involved in gambling.”

bet365 Wrists Slapped In Ad Complaints

As well as the growing prevalence of online betting companies advertising their products on TV, complaints against those betting firms have also grown.

Last year, the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) started proceedings against British betting firm, bet365, over alleged ‘misleading’ claims in TV adverts.

Most notably, the company’s ‘free bet’ promise was attacked. On the surface it appeared that new customers to bet365 would get up to $200 in free bets without any restrictions.

However, it was alleged by the ACCC, that the free bets actually consisted of a deposit bonus where customers would receive $200 in return for gambling $200 of their own money first.

“The online betting industry is a growing business sector. The Australian Consumer Law applies to this sector in the same way that it applies to other industries and sectors,” said the ACCC’s Rod Sims.

“The Consumer Law also requires that any conditions, limitations or restrictions should be made clear to the consumer before the purchase rather after a consumer has been unfairly enticed into a transaction.

“Consumer issues in online trading are an enforcement priority for the ACCC.”

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