New Nielsen data released today shows expenditure on gambling ads on Victorian free-to-air TV was more than three times the spend on alcohol advertising during 2021, and the number of gambling ads has skyrocketed.
Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation CEO Shane Lucas expressed his concern at the volume of gambling ads now aired on TV. ‘The Nielsen research tells us an average of 948 gambling ads were broadcast daily on free-to-air TV in Victoria last year. Five years ago, it was 374 ads. That is a very significant increase and demonstrates just how pervasive these ads have become.
‘It’s also alarming that an average of 148 gambling ads were broadcast on free-to-air TV between 6–8.30pm every weeknight, during the evening family viewing slot. Young people are being exposed to these ads and absorbing the content.
‘This first generation to grow up with gambling advertising is now the largest group of sports bettors in Victoria. Our research shows that young men aged 18–24 years make up almost a third of sports bettors in Victoria, and participation by young women is rising.’
The data also showed that the gambling industry spent $287.2 million on advertising in Australia, excluding in-stadium advertising or sponsorships, an increase of $15.9 million from 2020.
The figures are a timely reminder as a combined force of 650+ local and elite sporting clubs unite during the annual Love the Game month in May to interrupt gambling promotion at every level of sport.
‘This year, our Love the Game partners are focusing is on the vital role coaches play as leaders of their team. We are encouraging coaches to have a game plan to talk to players and supporters about the risks of sports betting now,’ Mr Lucas said.
Love the Game Ambassador Brodie Grundy from Collingwood FC said that he was proud of the way that clubs are uniting to raise concern about the normalisation of sports betting among young people and to highlight the associated risks.
‘You don’t need to be an expert on gambling to start a conversation about it. Coaches are role models who can talk to players and supporters about the risks of sports betting and shift the conversation away from “the odds”.
‘Love the Game month kicks off tomorrow and we want to tell parents that the risk to kids from sports betting is on the rise. As the “home coach”, they can also help their kids love the game, not the odds,’ he said.