Gambling adverts in Australia have become a part of everyday life for minors who watch football according to researchers at Deakin University.
With football and betting becoming increasingly intertwined over the last decade, more and more children are now seeing adverts that promote gambling.
Although the government has tried to curb the prominence of betting adverts over the years, researchers have now found that children as young as eight are now familiar with the nuances of the industry.
“Children are very easily able to tell you that if you bet on a certain outcome of a game, if your team kicks the first goal but then go on to lose, that they now expect to get money back on those offers,” said Associate Professor Samantha Thomas.
Lobbyists Already Calling for Reform
Prior to these findings being released, gambling critic Senator Nick Xenophon had already criticised the way gambling adverts are shown alongside sport.
Calling it a “problem that won’t go away,” Xenophon recently considered the Alliance for Gambling Reform’s proposal to reduce licence fee for TV stations that refused to screen such adverts.
“We get rid of the ads that are killing the codes we love, and we do it in a way that protects the channels and the media organisations we have come to rely on,” Rohan Wenn of the Alliance for Gambling reform said.
Unfortunately, these proposals were met with harsh words from TV executives. Rallying against what they saw as “draconian” measures designed to restrict revenue, bosses at Seven and Ten Network said that they closely monitor all of their adverts and had no concerns about gambling content.
Researchers Supporting Xenophon
While the fight between political and commercial forces is one that’s been raging for the past few years, the intervention of new research could tip the balance in the former’s favour.
Indeed, according to Thomas, there needs to be a “significant” reduction in the amount of gambling related marketing that children are exposed to.
“We actually have seen very, very little attention paid to this issue by the two major political parties and we’re really hoping that the minor parties and the independents can now actually get some shift in this very important issue in within the new Government,” Thomas explained to ABC.
There’s no doubt that exposing children to gambling adverts could cause them to become familiar with the industry. However, with strict age checks in place at virtually every online betting site in Australia, the risk of children actually anteing up is low.
Regardless, of the safeguards, anti-gambling advocates like Nick Xenophon will continue to call for tighter restrictions on the industry and the way it operates.