Young men 'bombarded' by sports betting advertising
16/05/2012 - Young men feel bombarded and targeted yet still drawn in by the level of sports betting advertising they are seeing.
At a youth forum on responsible gambling in Melbourne on Tuesday, about 70 year 11 and year 12 students heard about the risks of sports betting and the strategies that betting companies use to promote it.
Monash University consumer health researcher Samantha Thomas said in 2011 more than 130,000 sports betting advertisements ran on Australian free to air television, many during sporting broadcasts and more than half in 'G' and 'PG' rated timeslots.
She also calculated that at an AFL match venue, simultaneous advertising for sports betting added up to more than five hours of advertising during a three hour game.
She said much of it was aimed at young male sports fans, with a 2011 study she conducted finding this group felt targeted.
"What we heard from the young men was that they felt targeted and bombarded by advertising," Dr Thomas said.
However, despite this, the men still felt drawn in by the advertising and said it normalised sports betting for them and their friends.
They said often they talked to their friends more about the odds on games, rather than about favourite players.
The rise of technology also meant young people were potentially walking around with constant access to online gambling platforms "in their pockets" on smartphones and computers.
Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre chief executive officer Penny Wilson said her organisation was hearing about more young people gambling online illegally.
"It's become a bit of a rite of passage for people to play sportsbet through their older siblings or through their parents even and some parents don't view this as a problem," Wilson told reporters.
Another concern was young people being over-exposed to the "huge" level of sports betting advertising in Australia and beginning to gamble at age 18 without any critical understanding of the risks of losses.
"They actually haven't got that concept of risk and chance straight in their minds and perhaps it might not be until their mid-20s that people are able to understand that clearly."
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