The number of gambling adverts on television in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past five years, according to new data.
- Young men aged 18-24 were the biggest sports bettors in Victoria
- Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation calls for changes to make gambling adverts less accessible to children
- Hawthorn AFL player Mitch Lewis aims to raise awareness of gambling risks
A Nielsen Institute report revealed that gambling ads have increased by 253% since 2016.
Research commissioned by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation showed there were an average of 948 gambling adverts aired daily on free-to-air TV in Victoria in 2021.
Data showed the gaming industry spent $287.2 million on advertising in Australia last year, an increase of $15.9 million from 2020.
Shane Lucas, CEO of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, said there was an “extraordinary” amount of gambling advertising on television.
He said it put messages about the game in front of children and young people.
“We would also like to see more discussion about the risks associated with gambling and not just the recreational aspects.”
In 2017, the federal government banned gambling ads during live sports until 8:30 p.m. in a bid to reduce the impact on children, but Mr Lucas said ads should not at all all be broadcast during matches.
“I think we all know that when you watch sports on a Friday night or a Saturday night, it goes on until 10:30 p.m. and the kids are still watching until the game is over,” he said.
Mr Lucas said the generation that grew up on the betting announcements is feeling the pinch.
Young men between the ages of 18 and 24 were the most represented in the data, accounting for almost a third of sports bettors in Victoria.
Hawthorn AFL player Mitch Lewis falls into that demographic and hopes to raise awareness about the risks of gambling.
“Gambling and sports betting play such a big role in terms of influencing the younger generation.”
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s ‘Love the Game’ initiative was launched this month, which aims to change the focus of betting on football.
Lewis said spending time with children at local football pitches as part of the initiative showed him how invested they are in the game itself.
“It would be nice if adults and young people could have the same attitude,” he said.