They say timing is everything, and it is interesting to read that Crossmann Communications have chosen to publish a report into betting advertising the day before Australia’s biggest day of betting, the Melbourne Cup, where an estimated $60.6 million is expected to be wagered tomorrow.
Not that surprisingly the report states that one in three Australians are against betting firms’ widespread sponsorship of teams and events. Interestingly 13% rank sports gambling advertising as being more harmful in the community than tobacco promotions.
There is no doubt it has spread like one horrific virus, and should come as no surprise down the track if athletes from sports other than cricket are found to have ‘influenced’ results. When television stations actually have a bookie commenting during a news bulletin on sport you know things have gone too far. This has been the case on Sky News, Channel nine and ten. To make matters worse this individual’s family are heavily involved in the horse racing industry.
What many television executives have failed to realise, as they chase the every decreasing advertising dollar is that the constant live odds updates are of no interest to many of the viewers or fans of the teams or the sport. Have they not stopped to think of the impact that this is having on young sports fans? Immediately these young fans are forming a link between gambling and their sporting heroes. The betting companies may not be concerned about that but society should be. It is a worry when a child yet to reach its teens can tell you the odds on a team winning ahead of being able to name every player on the park; this did happen recently to the writer!
Other facts to come out of the study were that almost one in five Australians place a bet on a sporting event at least once per month with 27% of men admitting to a bet at least once a month and only 9% of women.
Jackie Crossman, Managing Director at Crossman Communications who compiled the study has been quoted as saying “Depending on the outcome of the ongoing review of the Interactive Gambling Act, 2001, the brakes could be put on sports betting advertising, sponsorship and other forms of promotion.” For most simple sports fans this will be a welcome return to some semblance of normality.