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Study measures effect of sports betting ads on Aussie kids

Tue, Aug 16, 9:50am by Staff Writer

A detailed study into the effect of sports betting advertising on Australian children has revealed that children as young as eight are able to recognise major betting brands and recall information about betting promotion.

The study, conducted by Deakin University and published in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, looked at the effect the growth in marketing of gambling was having on children.

The study reveals that the Australian gambling industry spent $145 million on advertising in 2015 and considered what children aged 8-16 recall, whether they are at the ground or watching AFL, NRL and soccer on TV.

Study co-author Associate Professor Samantha Thomas said that children were able to identify major betting brands as well as the services they offered.

“We not only have children who can name gambling companies, but also can tell us things like bonus bets, cash back refunds, and the very specific creative factors within the advertisements they see,” Associate Professor Thomas told the ABC.

“That is influencing the way in which they see betting as being a normal part of sport but also is influencing, I guess, the education that they have about these products and how they may use them when they’re older,” she said.

“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.”

“What that does is it suggests to kids that you can’t lose from gambling.”

Associate Professor Thomas said that the style of sports betting advertising, not just its timing during sporting events, was also a major factor.

“Children have a very high appeal to advertising, which includes things like humour, and we know that there are certain companies that use humour prolifically within their advertising,” she said.

“Three brands in particular were recalled very highly by children in our study — Sportsbet, the TAB and Bet365.”

Based on the study, Associate Professor Thomas has called on a reduction on the amount of sports betting and other gambling advertising within children’s viewing times.

“At the moment, there is a very clear loophole in advertising regulations, which means that ads for gambling products can’t be played within G-rated timeslot unless they’re within sporting matches,” Associate Professor Thomas said.

“In this study, one of main places that children recalled seeing the marketing for betting products was within sporting matches and this shows that this is a particularly influential environment for children in terms of wagering advertising.”

“I think we have a really great opportunity at the moment with people like Senator Nick Xenophon, Andrew Wilkie and the Greens who are lobbying very, very hard to create some appropriate regulation around this issue.”

“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.”

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