Sports betting companies spending big on ads

The Sydney Morning Herald

It has catchy music, glamorous young things enjoying glitzy nightclub settings, and promises that every time you bet you will earn reward points to redeem in resorts, hotels, restaurants, casinos and bars.  Viewers of the expensive television marketing campaign are enticed to  “transform your betting experience wherever you are in Australia”.

The only trouble with this attention-grabbing promotion being shown in prime time on commercial channels and on social media is that the James Packer-controlled CrownBet​ running the ads may be in breach of the NSW state gaming regulations. Gambling advertising needs to be reined in and stopped altogether during daytime TV.

The ads are not the only ones being shown that offer inducements or rewards for gambling. There is a war on between sports betting companies for the gambling dollar – which is estimated at more than $21 billion a year –  and a number of marketing campaigns have caught the attention of the NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing.

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A spokesman for OLGR said the CrownBet promotion first came to their attention as part of its monitoring program.

“OLGR has advised the company that its promotion is suspected of being in breach of NSW’s Racing Administration Regulation 2012 by offering inducements to gamble and failing to exclude NSW residents,” said the spokesman. “The company will be provided with an opportunity to respond  prior to a final decision on regulatory action being taken.”

While the investigation is under way, the advertisements are still running in prime time TV slots.  CrownBet is one of a number of companies under investigation by OLGR over regulatory breaches, however the watchdog won’t reveal which other companies are being looked at. A spokesman for CrownBet declined to comment.

Up to 500,000 Australians are at risk of becoming or are problem gamblers, according to an Australian government problem gambling website. It estimates the social cost of problem gambling to be $4.7 billion.

“People are especially sick of wall-to-wall gambling advertising, particularly during G-rated television periods. Moreover the problem is only getting worse with the advertising spending going up and the amount being waged increasing dramatically,” he says.

“For a start gambling advertising needs to be reined in and stopped altogether during daytime TV. Inducements and credit must be banned. And effective harm minimisation measures should be mandated.

“The current government inquiry into online gambling, including sports betting, is a sham seeing as three of the four terms of reference are only to do with protecting Australian online gambling businesses from their overseas competitors.”

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