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Children and parents influenced by persuasive gambling advertising

Persuasive gambling advertising is influencing how parents and children view gambling and may reinforce misconceptions, according to a new study funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

Foundation chief executive Serge Sardo says the study by Associate Professor Samantha Thomas at the University of Wollongong raises concerns about how misleading gambling advertising can be.

"This research supports concerns about the way gambling is being normalised through advertising and indicates that people of all ages can be misled, including children," he said.

Associate professor Samantha Thomas interviewed 59 families for the study to understand how parents and children respond to gambling advertising.

Among the responses, three clear themes emerged with parents and children saying that gambling advertising:

  • made them feel positive about gambling
  • legitimised and normalised gambling
  • made them believe gambling is fun, easy and exciting.

"While there were a range of opinions expressed, there was a general perception that gambling advertisements reinforce a sense of 'cultural capital' between gambling and different activities such as sport," Associate professor Thomas said.

"Our research also shows that just like junk food, tobacco and alcohol, we have a limited understanding of the interplay between gambling products, consumption and advertising messaging," she said.

Mr Sardo cautioned that while gambling is a legitimate form of entertainment, it shouldn't be attached to people's feelings of social acceptance or their love of sport.

"To counter the ease and availability of sports betting and online betting, the Foundation's focus is on helping people make more informed gambling choices that are based on fact rather than persuasive advertising that promises endless riches, social acceptance or prowess," he said.

Associate professor Thomas says the study also showed inconsistency in the way some parents managed their children's exposure to gambling.

"Some parents in the study facilitated sweeps or other gambling around horse racing events but were strongly opposed to their children being exposed to gambling advertising during sports," she said.

Mr Sardo says the Foundation's public health approach to preventing problem gambling includes a number of initiatives focused on young people and their parents.

"Our Gambling's not a game education programs for sporting clubs and schools aim to raise awareness among young people and the wider community, and we also have a guide for parents to help them tackle the topic with their teenagers," he said.

Parents and children discuss gambling advertising: A qualitative study was funded by the Foundation in the fourth round of the Grants for Gambling Research Program.

Download the report (PDF - 222.5 KB)

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Fiona Skivington, Manager, Media & Communication
on +61428248931 or

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