Sports betting and gambling ads are everywhere, trying to make gambling seem like a safe, easy way to make money. Here’s why that’s a problem – and what’s being done about it.
Facts and stats for context
- From 2005 to 2019, the amount lost on sports betting per year increased from $1.98 million to $8.25 million.
- In 2022, gambling and wager companies spent $310 million on advertising in Australia.
- 75% of kids aged 8-16 can name one or more sports betting companies.
- 32% of sports bettors in SA gamble at risky levels compared to 27% of poker machine players, and 12% of gamblers generally.
It goes on…
- 60% of South Australians believe betting on sports is a normal part of life.
- 78% of South Australians are concerned by how much sports betting advertising children are exposed to, and 84% agreed that it makes kids think that gambling on sport is normal.
- Less than 38% of South Australians felt informed enough to talk to children about the risks of sports gambling, and only 20% have.
The correlation between sports betting advertisements and money spent gambling is clear; as the amount spent by sports gambling companies on advertising goes up, so too does the money lost on sports betting. What’s also clear is the link between the prominence of sports betting advertisements and young people’s recognition of it – or worse, participation.
So what’s being done about it?
Through its Here For The Game initiative, the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office for Problem Gambling (delivered by the South Australian Government) is calling out the risks of sports betting, educating communities, and saying no to sports betting sponsorships.
Here For The Game is about getting South Aussies up to speed on the massive growth in sports betting losses and advertising spending, and providing education on how it can potentially harm you, your kids, your family and your mates. The program also provides advice on how you can protect yourself and loved ones from the dangerous aspects of sports betting.
We chat to Here For The Game ambassador Anne Hatchard
Anne Hatchard is a three-time Premiership player with the Adelaide Football Club. She’s also a two-time Adelaide Football Club champion, secured All Australian selection in 2019 – and earned those honours again in 2020 – and broke the record for the most disposals in a game. She’s also a Here For The Game ambassador.
“It’s becoming almost normal to kids these days, they’re seeing sports betting ads everywhere,” the AFLW superstar says. “We’re trying to bring it back to why we come to sports games – we’re for the game, for the atmosphere.”
This mission to help young sports fans rediscover the real reasons we love sport – Action! Drama! Community! Excitement! – is what Here For The Game is all about. “It would be awesome to be able to make a difference, to show people you can have fun at a game without gambling,” she says. Thanks to ambassadors like herself, and initiatives like Here For The Game, change is in the air.
But it’s also up to sports clubs and parents of young kids to drive important conversations, Anne says. “Clubs have to drive it themselves by making partnerships and showing their fans that there are ways to enjoy the footy without gambling,” she says. Education is also key to highlighting the risks to young people. “Being able to have open conversations with kids, to show them what gambling can lead to instead of beating around the bush, is the best way,” Anne says.
How to talk to your kids about the risks of sports betting
Before you have the talk, consider your own behaviour. Could your gambling habits be influencing the children in your life? Once you feel prepared to answer any questions about your own betting (don’t put it past them, kids don’t miss a beat), start the conversation by finding out how much they already know. This will guide the rest of your chat. Ask how they feel about sports betting, whether they’re aware of any risks, and how it impacts their enjoyment of the game.
For more tips on how to talk to your kids about the risks of sports betting, a bunch of resources are available here.
Are you part of a sports club and interested in joining Here For The Game? Find out how you can get involved.
Do you need help right now? Phone 1800 858 858 or visit gamblinghelponline.org.au. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.